By BONNIE L. HAZEN
WARREN - After a pilot run of Ohio's new Kindergarten Readiness Assessment, officials with the Warren City School District are confident it is a step in the right direction.
Tribune Chronicle file photo
Holy Trinity Orthodox Christian Academy kindergarten and first-grade teacher Kelli Funtulis is hugged by a handful of her students.
The Kindergarten Readiness Assessment - Literacy (KRA-L), which previously only assessed a child's readiness for kindergarten based on literacy skills, will be replaced in the fall with the new assessment, which will encompass physical well-being and motor development; language and literacy; mathematics; science; social studies; and social skills.
"Not only is it a bridge between a preschool program and kindergarten ... it's also aligned to Ohio's new learning standards. It's the direction as a district in school improvement that we're eager to go," said superintendent Steve Chiaro.
Starting in April, kindergarten teachers across the state began training on the new readiness assessments, including score reporting and learning to use the data. Chiaro said the training went well in Warren last spring and the teachers are prepared to implement the new standards in the fall.
One thing that sets the new assessment apart from the old is that students may not even realize they are being tested.
Kelly Hutchison, Warren preschool coordinator and kindergarten literacy coordinator, said the new assessment impacts instruction as well as how teachers evaluate the students.
"With the old test, the teacher would call the child over to them and do a lot of the testing one-on-one. This way the teacher will go to the child, assess the child in the school environment without pulling them away from what they're doing," she explained.
Additionally, Warren will have the option of choosing the best way for the child to take the assessment. Hutchison said they recently purchased iPads for preschoolers and kindergartners.
"The teacher is able to look at the child and say, 'how would the child best take this test? Will the child take the test better on the iPad?' And if the answer is yes, we'll be able to use the iPads," Hutchison said.
Chiaro and Hutchison both said they are confident the new assessments are the in the best interests of students in Warren.
"It seems like its going to be developmentally appropriate," Hutchison said.
"This is the kind of stuff we need to move our district forward," Chiaro said.