This is what the Washington Post's education reporter Valerie Strauss claims in an article appearing today:
"Now public charter schools in Washington D.C. will soon be giving new standardized tests to very young children — aged 3, 4 and 5 — for the purposes of assessing their academic progress and ranking schools according to the results."
Wow, that would be horrible for these kids. Just the vision of trying to do this worries me. But is she correct? Not according to the Public Charter School Board. The organization posted a question and answer page about the proposed Early Childhood Performance Management Framework. In answer to the concern that pre-school students will be taking a test like the DC CAS the Board writes:
"As background, charter schools have used assessments with their 3- and 4-year old students long before the proposed Early Childhood PMF . . . The Early Childhood PMF does not introduce any new standardized tests for these young students. [Bold in original document.] Rather, it only measures progress for 3- and 4-your olds based on classroom observations, usually twice a year (Fall/Spring). For these types of assessments, teachers will observe a student over a period of a week or two, for example, and check off the items the students can do. Some assessments that charter school have used include several pictures or a few letters or numbers that are placed in front of the student and the student identifies the picture, letter, or number."
I've actually taken the time to read the new policy and it appears to corroborate the information provided on the question and answer page. The proposed policy also contains a list of 26 schools that have piloted the Early Childhood PMF along with a reference list on assessing programs for kids in early childhood.
To assist the newspaper, perhaps I should move over to the Post?
There was a public hearing on the Early Childhood PMF scheduled by the PCSB on August 19th. The public comment period ends at 5 p.m. August 28th.