ERIC Number: EJ1071068
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2015-Sep
Abstractor: As Provided
Assessing Children in Kindergarten: The Narrowing of Language, Culture and Identity in the Testing Era
Yoon, Haeny S.
Journal of Early Childhood Literacy, v15 n3 p364-393 Sep 2015
In contemporary kindergarten classrooms, children's literacy abilities are often assessed by tests used to determine a child's "readiness" for school. Readiness often means letter identification, phonemic awareness, letter-writing, and other functions related to language mechanics. This paper investigates the assessment tools (both locally and federally mandated) that are used to measure and evaluate children's literacy abilities. Drawing from a 4-month ethnographic study on teaching and learning in kindergarten, I reveal the social, cultural and academic issues associated with labelling children as "below average" readers and writers. Through observations made at collaboration meetings, interviews, classroom field notes and children's written texts, I document how three kindergarten teachers and their principal assessed children using assessment tools. I, concurrently, studied the writing practices of the children in one classroom, focusing specifically on those children identified as "below average". I trace the ideological issues behind assessment tests, the kinds of discourse that teachers take up in response to these tests, and the obvious race and class divisions that separate students. Finally, I look at the "below average" children in one classroom to discuss the nonlinear, resourceful and innovative ways in which children arrive at language, many of which are not measurable.
Descriptors: Kindergarten, School Readiness, Learning Readiness, Student Evaluation, Ethnography, Evaluation Methods, Low Achievement, Reading Achievement, Ideology, Discourse Analysis, Teacher Attitudes, Emergent Literacy, Achievement Gap, Educational Assessment, Case Studies, Labeling (of Persons), Classification, Racial Bias, Observation, Interviews
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Research
Education Level: Kindergarten; Primary Education; Early Childhood Education
Authoring Institution: N/A
Grant or Contract Numbers: N/A