Tuesday, December 22, 2015

Lions and tigers and assessments, oh my!

Hey Y'all!
I have a serious love hate relationship with assessments. Are you in the same boat? I love what I can learn from a good assessment but I HATE the time that it takes in kinder land. Y'all know what I am talking about. There is very little to NO group assessing. For my friends who teach older students, you guys might not get what I am saying here. 5 year olds tend to be some of the hardest kids to assess because, by nature, they learn by watching others. So imagine trying to have kinders build sets as a whole group. Even if you give them tools to do it on their own, they tend to watch others build before they start. That leaves a situation where you are questioning if the student knows what a set of 3 looks like or were they excellent at copying what someone else can do.  Frustration sets in because every little thing has to be one on one! Even with the best assessments they take days to complete because of the time frame.

And then that all changed for me.... I heard about a little website called ESGI.


 What is ESGI?
ESGI is only the EASIEST way to assess! No I'm not just saying that, nor am I in any way part of ESGI. I started using this form of assessment last year. I loved that I could open up any device that was connected to the internet and test. This year I am using it more than I did last year. I guess I was a little slow to warm up to all the features, but now that I get it I use it for everything. ESGI says that they save 400 hours of time in assessing. I'm not sure it does that, but I seem to fly through assessments now.

There are LOTS of stock tests from many wonderful teacher authors like Deedee Wills and Pre K pages. But the best part is that you can create assessments your self. My school requires that all teachers give common assessments that are co designed by grade level teams and the coaches. I don't mind these assessments so much but we have to give them weekly. UGH! That is a lot of time given up to individual testing. Now our team does a really good job of keeping these really short but they still take  lots of time. These common assessments are what really pushed me to use ESGI. It's so easy to take our team assessment and create them in ESGI.

How do you give an ESGI assessment?
This has got to be the best part!! I usually give these during transitions. Yep you heard me. I use my smart board and pull up what ever piece of the assessment I want to test. While my kids are cleaning up centers I pull 1 kinder over to the smart board and run through the assessment. The kids who cleaned up quickly aren't sitting around waiting for nothing, they are getting the most out of every minute of the day. I even take a iPad with us to the bathroom and do assessments while we are at the bathroom.

So I tested, now what?
This is a class summery page that shows where my class stands overall. Each student also has a page like this with individual scores. If you have been teaching kindergarten long you know that grades mean nothing to 5 year olds. But tell them that their goal is to have all green, no white, and they are instantly interested in their grades.


So now that you have kinders buying in, how about getting parents to buy in? You can print a parent letter that you customize to say what ever you need it to say AND print flashcards of the material that you kids need to know. And when it it time to re-test, you can choose to test all the material or just the items that were missed. Talk about a time saver!


Here is one of my favorite parts of ESGI. This is the history graph. My RTI team requires data to show if the kids are growing. Usually you are talking about pages and pages of letter naming sheets. Not me! I print out this page and slip it into the RTI folder. I love that I can see "jumps" in understanding as well as when we stall out.


You can also access the class totals report that will show you the first testing and the most recent. I LOVE using this to show growth! Super easy to pull my whole class at one time.


Now that you have buy in from both kinders and parents, it's time to form groups. This picture is showing one of my sight word assessments. See the grey and green areas? The green is what we know and the grey is what we missed. To get a quick list of who doesn't know a word, click on the grey area. Yep! It's that easy.


Now that you've seen it, wanna give it a try? ESGI has a 60 day trial for FREE! Yep that is how I got started with ESGI. I did all my January assessments and my progress monitoring through February. And I realized that this was too good to give up! Testing on my phone, or a tablet, or on the computer. I can check children ANY time and ANY where. LOVE it!


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