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AST > Assessment: Evaluating the Baseline

Every child will need to be formally evaluated to ascertain their baseline. Students entering kindergarten are generally presumed ready to begin formal instruction in the development of reading, mathematics and language skills. However, at this stage students vary considerably in terms of the development of underlying competencies, which are essential for such early school learning. We provide support for families who find that their children are not deemed 'ready' for school as yet, as well as children who may already be in the school system but who still require academic support.

At this stage we evaluate six sub-test areas:

  • Vocabulary
  • Identifying letters
  • Visual discrimination
  • Phonemic awareness
  • Comprehension and interpretation
  • Mathematical knowledge

The fundamental purpose of the academic evaluation is to determine the extent to which each of the underlying competencies has been developed in the child, so that instruction and innovative teaching and/or learning strategies can be modified to meet the needs of each student. This also enables a level of readiness to be determined.

For older school-going children, we include two additional areas in our baseline assessment, making eight sub-test areas in all to be evaluated:

  • Vocabulary
  • Identifying letters
  • Visual discrimination
  • Phonemic awareness
  • Comprehension and interpretation
  • Mathematical knowledge
  • Developmental spelling ability
  • Handwriting assessment

The complete assessment allows for the Academic Support Teacher to learn as much as possible about every student's abilities and about any factors that might be interfering with his or her learning.

Determining young childrens' achievement demands special consideration as the progress and attainments of young children, three to eight years of age, requires understanding that they grow and change rapidly, particularly in their social/emotional development; that they can be easily distracted by assessment procedures; and that they have little or no personal interest in being assessed. Given these characteristics, we view the formal assessments as a baseline testing to form a hypothesis for initial instructional planning, program evaluation and accountability. The hypothesis formed for each child after the initial academic assessment will then be informally confirmed during the course of the following treatment package.

Our Main Goals are:

  • To integrate curriculum (either the child's school curriculum or specific home school curriculum targets) and assessment in the planning of a specific academic programme for the child.
  • To adopt assessment practices that are developmentally appropriate for the child being assessed.
  • That all assessment procedures will fulfil all the major purposes of assessment in our support programmes.
  • That Academic Support Teachers will communicate clear and complete information about their child's progress to parents.
  • That assessment practices will be used to benefit children through more individually appropriate instruction and/or special intervention to help them succeed and feel more competent.

Report

All academic support evaluations will be followed by a complete written report within ten days of the evaluation session. The report will contain the results of the evaluation and suggestions that can be implemented to help your child to further better his/her academic skills.

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