ERIC Number: EJ828002
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2007-Dec
Motivation and School Readiness: What Is Missing from Current Assessments of Preschooler's Readiness for Kindergarten?
Harris, Ruby C.
NHSA Dialog, v10 n3-4 p151-163 Dec 2007
In the late 1990s, a National Educational Goal was set in the United States that by the year 2000 all children should start school with the skills necessary for learning (Meisels, 1995 ) and assessment measures should be put in place to provide the screenings. Thus, readiness testing became widespread and kindergarten curricula shifted to more structured academic programs and away from programs that provided opportunities for exploration and play. Readiness screenings are typically used for identification and placement purposes for children who are at risk for developmental and learning delays or for curriculum planning (Meisels, 1987). Practitioners often select between standardized screening tests or developmental assessments. However, many tests have been shown to lack validity and predictability. In light of the reliability and validity problems and inefficiency in predicting future success, some researchers have suggested reconsideration of the issue while others suggest that the practice be eliminated altogether. Recently, researchers have suggested that a more comprehensive approach is needed and that readiness measures should include an assessment of socio-emotional functioning (La Paro & Pianta, 2000). This article presents a new perspective on school readiness assessment that incorporates a broader view of readiness that includes social-emotional and cognitive development, including self-regulated learning behaviors such as those seen in children with mastery-motivation orientations. The author discusses the definitions of school readiness, purpose of readiness assessment and its controversies, and describes what is missing from readiness measures for kindergarten. The author stresses that with the availability of motivation assessments, intervention programs to support the development of more adaptive learning behaviors prior to entering elementary school can be developed. This article concludes that motivation provides a new perspective for teachers and school systems to consider when making decisions on school readiness.
Descriptors: Motivation, School Readiness, Preschool Children, Kindergarten, Screening Tests, Aptitude Tests, Academic Achievement, At Risk Persons, Early Intervention, Teaching Methods, Professional Development, Inservice Teacher Education, Cognitive Development, Emotional Development, Social Development, Cognitive Style, Testing Problems
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Opinion Papers
Education Level: Early Childhood Education; Kindergarten; Preschool Education
Authoring Institution: N/A