Kindergarten & First Grade Baseline Assessment

Data, data, data! When most people think of teachers, they don't think of data. Yet, the reality is, we are overwhelmed with data throughout the year. When gathered properly, and used correctly, data is SO SO IMPORTANT. However, a lot of times, we don't even know where to begin. That is why I created the 
Kindergarten Baseline Assessment First Grade Baseline Assessment.

When I first started teaching Kindergarten I had no idea where to start. Some kiddies didn't know if they were a lefty or a righty, and others were writing their own names independently. Rather then waiting to find this information out the hard way (and wasting valuable time that could be spent targeting specific needs), I decided to carve out a chunk of time to assess each and every student individually. During this time I was able to not only get to know them and begin building a relationship with them, but I gathered information that I used to drive all instruction moving forward. You see, the baseline assessment assesses key kindergarten skills. Plus, there is a tracker to take notes on everything. So after completing the assessment, I know who belongs in my high, middle, and low groups. I know who to red flag for possible RTI, who gets frustrated easily, who is showing signs of independence, who seems to have a speech delay, etc, etc, etc. It is so eye opening! So, you can imagine the world of possibilities that stems from this assessment. Now my math and ELA groups are made, I start tweaking pre planned lessons to target the skills this group of kiddies needs, I start differentiating and modifying work for certain students. It really is a critical piece of my teaching. 

But that's not the best part! The best part is, that same tracker that I record all of the data on in the beginning of the year, is the same tracker I will use until they are ready to go to first grade. I will keep ALL of their information on that one piece of paper! By doing this, I can easily look at it and see what areas are their strengths and what areas are their weaknesses. When it is time to write report cards, I pull out the tracker and BOOM-all of the information I need is right there...and I mean specific information. I'm not saying "Johnny knows most of his letter sounds" I am saying "Johnny is showing progress in his letter sounds. He now knows 24 out of 26 sounds (he is struggling with /q/ and /m/), which is 10 more letter sounds than he knew last marking period." I mean doesn't that sound like a teacher that knows what she's doing? (wink, wink). This is also used to drive parent-teacher conference conversations, and really go in depth on key skills with parents. Additionally, the baseline assessment is extremely helpful if you service special education students. Whether you are a general education teacher, co-teacher, special education teacher or interventionist, this baseline is for you! I'd like to share my experiences with this briefly as both a general education teacher AND a special education interventionist.

So as a general education teacher it can be really challenging to remember your special education students IEP goals, especially since you're also trying to remember that Mary isn't taking the bus today, Peter can't sit at the peanut table at lunch, Joey needs an extra copy of the homework, and the 9 million other things that are swirling in your brains on a daily basis. BUT, that doesn't mean it's not important, it is SO important. So what I would do is, find the skills in my baseline that were connected to my special education students goals and highlight them on their tracker. That way I could check periodically, refresh my memory, and see where they stood with it. Constantly touching base with myself and holding myself accountable for targeting those goals in the classroom. Also, when it came time to write those dreaded IEP reports, I would use the data from the baseline assessment to give very specific information about their progress in the classroom. I was always told that I wrote such detailed reports and no other teachers did that, and the reality is, my reports took very little time to write because I was simply taking the data from my tracker and putting it into sentences. 

The skills available in the KINDERGARTEN assessment are:
- Letter Identification (uppercase & lowercase)
- Letter Sounds
- CVC Words (reading & writing)
- Sight Words (Fry's First 100 & an editable template if you use other words)
- Syllables
- Writing (name writing & sentence dictation)
- Calendar Work (days of the week & months of the year)
- Rhyming Words
- Counting Objects to 10
- Number Identification to 30
- Ordering Numbers to 10 (before, between & after)
- Skip Counting by 10's
- Measurement (height & weight)
- Patterns
- Writing Numbers 1-20

The binder cover used in the photo above is a part of my product "Pre-Made & Editable Binder Covers" available here

Now, flip the script....because last year I transferred from a kindergarten general education teacher to a special education interventionist. I provide SETSS (special education teacher support services) to a variety of grades, and 90% of my students have IEP's and very glaring academic deficits in the classroom. Again, I found myself saying "what the heck do I do now?" Starting a new position had a definite learning curve. I went from having 20 something students at one time, to small groups of 2-4, BUT each of these students needed me in very different ways. So this time I created the First Grade Baseline Assessment. I found by using this as an interventionist, it had just as many benefits as when I was a general education teacher. Specifically when it came time for writing IEP's and updating goals. I had one sheet to refer to that showed me specifically what my student was doing well in, and areas that needed more support. The assessment is common core aligned AND customizable. Each skill you assess is on a separate sheet of paper.  This allows you to pick and choose which skills you want to assess, and create your own perfect baseline. 

The skills available in the FIRST GRADE assessment are:
*Letter Identification (uppercase & lowercase)
*Letter Sounds
*CVC Words (reading & writing)
*Letters of the Alphabet
*Sight Words (Fry's First 100, Fry's Second 100 & and editable form)
*Editing Sentences
*CVCE Words (reading & writing)
*Verb Endings
*Calendar Work (days of the week & months of the year)
*Two Dimensional Shapes
*Three Dimensional Shapes
*Number Identification to 30
*10 More and 10 Less
*Time (digital & analog)
*Greater Than and Less Than
*Skip Counting by 10's
*Addition Fluency
*Subtraction Fluency

Both products include both a pre-made and an editable tracker. The tracker is designed to record the results for the entire year all in one spot! So when it comes time to see growth, challenges, patterns, have meetings, can just pull out the one tracker.

For example, take a look at this tracker below:

Just by quickly looking at the tracker above I can gather great insight about this student (Michelle). Here are some things I would note as the teacher:

Based on the September 16th Results:
* Michelle came to first grade with a pretty good sense of number identification-no need to provide extra support in this area at this time
*Michelle has very little knowledge on 10 More 10 Less. Keep this in mind when  you come to this unit. She may require intervention for this.
*Michelle has an okay sense of Time,  I don't believe she will need intervention, unless no gains are made by next assessment.

Based on the November 20th Results:
*Michelle has mastered Number Identification-there is no need to test her on this moving forward.
*Michelle has made almost no progress with 10 More 10 Less-time to start intervention with this subject.
*Michelle is making adequate gains with Time

Based on the February 10th Results:
*Continue intervention on 10 More 10 Less. Provide Michelle with multiple opportunities to practice this skill including hands on center work, modified classwork, homework, etc. Discuss this concern with her parents and provide them with ideas for ways to work on this at home.
*Michelle is making great progress with Time.

If you think this is something you could use in your classroom, check out the product descriptions and previews by clicking the links below:

Grab Your Kindergarten Baseline Assessment HERE

Grab Your First Grade Baseline Assessment HERE

I hope you find this baseline assessment as helpful as I do! I'd love to hear from you if you've implemented this in your own rooms!

~Michelle Vasilescu AKA Mrs. V

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