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Best Start
Kindergarten Assessment NSW


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#1 QueenIanthe

Posted 24 January 2013 - 08:32 PM

I found out this week that our school is not starting the kindergarten (FYOS) kids until February 4th because each kindergarten kid is having their Best Start assessment in the first 3 days of school and they are arranging classes so there is a range of abilities in the classes based on the assessment.

So what do you think about this? I am very interested in what our EB teachers think.

I don't feel completely comfortable about it. I don't mind the assessment but I don't like them arranging classes around the results. Kids can come along in such different ways at school. My eldest knew little when he started school but was reading 2 years above his year level by the end of kindergarten. I'm not sure of the benefits.

http://www.curriculumsupport.education.nsw...ation/index.htm

Edited by Ianthe, 24 January 2013 - 08:33 PM.


#2 melaine

Posted 24 January 2013 - 08:40 PM

That's late to be finding out when they start!

I don't have a problem with considering ability while planning classes - but yes, not sure that the best start assessment measures ability. It measures starting knowledge which will be impacted by the preschool exposure the child has had etc.



#3 **Xena**

Posted 24 January 2013 - 08:42 PM

QUOTE (Ianthe @ 24/01/2013, 09:32 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
I found out this week that our school is not starting the kindergarten (FYOS) kids until February 4th because each kindergarten kid is having their Best Start assessment in the first 3 days of school and they are arranging classes so there is a range of abilities in the classes based on the assessment.

So what do you think about this? I am very interested in what our EB teachers think.

I don't feel completely comfortable about it. I don't mind the assessment but I don't like them arranging classes around the results. Kids can come along in such different ways at school. My eldest knew little when he started school but was reading 2 years above his year level by the end of kindergarten. I'm not sure of the benefits.

http://www.curriculumsupport.education.nsw...ation/index.htm


I think it seems a bit strange. Like yours my kids all only knew a bit when they started school but progressed very quickly ie strated school not being able to read much at all but were reading novels by the start of the next year. I could understand it if they were testing how a child learns (if that's possible) and grouping them that way, but not by how much they know. If that makes sense.

#4 Expelliarmus

Posted 24 January 2013 - 08:48 PM

Other classes are based on a spread of abilities so no classes are loaded with either 'tricky' kids or 'easy' kids. It's difficult to do this with kids you've not yet doine some assessment on. So it sounds like reasonable practice, although not something I have ever come across myself.

#5 Fifi

Posted 24 January 2013 - 08:51 PM

Kindy nsw teacher here - we are doing Best Start assessment next week too. We have already organized our classes. However, if we do Best start and then discover  that we have for example a Gifted and Talented student who does not have anyone to challenge him/her in that class, we might swap them to another based on the results. Sometimes we can have a few Maths whizzes who would benefit from being together and extended etc. or sometimes we have a child who does not have funding but we identify as perhaps having a learning difficulty and we may place them in a class which has some aide time attached to it so that the child can benefit from a helping hand before we can organize other funding. There are lots of reasons and all of them are to benefit our kids original.gif
Hope that helps original.gif


#6 qak

Posted 24 January 2013 - 08:55 PM

I understtod that Best Start was universal among public schools in NSW?  I had never thought of it in the context of the OP, but can see that point of view.  DS school (Catholic) did assessments during orientation, with the aim of making an even split of abilities/personalities and/or working out who would be best suited to a class together (or not, as the case may be!).

In any case now they are going into Y1 and there is going to be quite a bit of movement between the two classes ... this does suggest that things have changed a lot in one year ie what is the point of the assessment?

#7 YodaTheWrinkledOne

Posted 24 January 2013 - 08:57 PM

QUOTE (Ianthe @ 24/01/2013, 08:32 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
I found out this week that our school is not starting the kindergarten (FYOS) kids until February 4th because each kindergarten kid is having their Best Start assessment in the first 3 days of school and they are arranging classes so there is a range of abilities in the classes based on the assessment.

So what do you think about this? I am very interested in what our EB teachers think.

I don't feel completely comfortable about it. I don't mind the assessment but I don't like them arranging classes around the results. Kids can come along in such different ways at school. My eldest knew little when he started school but was reading 2 years above his year level by the end of kindergarten. I'm not sure of the benefits.

http://www.curriculumsupport.education.nsw...ation/index.htm

Same thing is happening with DD1, only she is starting at school on 5th Feb.

I don't have a problem with it.   It's to benefit the kids and to provide the baseline knowledge/needs/talents of each child for the teachers' planning. Arranging classes around kids needs and talents has been going on for ages and happens in all years of school.  Don't see what is so different about this.

#8 Expelliarmus

Posted 24 January 2013 - 09:01 PM

QUOTE (qak @ 24/01/2013, 08:55 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
In any case now they are going into Y1 and there is going to be quite a bit of movement between the two classes ... this does suggest that things have changed a lot in one year ie what is the point of the assessment?

The point of the assessment - any assessment - is to find out what the child knows for the purpose of finding out 'where to next'. Without the assessment the teachers wouldn't have known what to teach your child during FYOS.



#9 mum850

Posted 24 January 2013 - 09:10 PM

.

Edited by mum850, 25 January 2013 - 06:39 AM.


#10 ~flaxen~

Posted 24 January 2013 - 09:12 PM

I have no problem whatsoever with it. It gives the teachers a starting point, and lets them individualise learning from the get go. Also I would imagine it frees up those first few days so they can spend more time on settling the kindy kids in.

QUOTE
Arranging classes around kids needs and talents has been going on for ages and happens in all years of school. Don't see what is so different about this.


True. Years ago I think it was called "baseline" or something similar, except they would spend the first few weeks of kindergarten doing it.

#11 OscarAndTilly

Posted 24 January 2013 - 09:40 PM

I don't have a problem with it, however I don't believe that in all cases it gives a true indication of the child's ability.



#12 Julie3Girls

Posted 24 January 2013 - 10:05 PM

I've had 2 kids go through best start. I've actually found them pointless for my girls, and the teacher has agreed.  With dd2, she was so shy with the teacher that she barely spoke. When the teacher gave me the report, she said i should just throw it straight in the bin ... That in no reflected the very bright child I had.
Dd3 got a good best start report. When we got the report, we had a meeting with the teacher, said her results were fantastic, but doesn't show where is now, just a couple of weeks later.

Based on my experience, best start is probably useful to give the teachers a general overview, might pick out some of the really advanced kids, and which ones are way behind.  But they can also be very wrong. Particularly for kids who have just met the teacher and are in an unfamiliar place.  I wouldn't want them used for making up class lists.

Our school simply puts all the kinders  together for the first week before assigning classes. Best start is done after that.  Classes are decided based on observations by the teachers at orientation, and during the first week, parent-teacher chats, discussions with the local preschools.  Based much more on personalities, rather than academics.

#13 RealityBites

Posted 24 January 2013 - 10:13 PM

I think it will be a waste of time with my very shy (initially) daughter.

Also I had to laugh at a PP's obsession with early reading. I deliberately didnt teach DD1 to read before kindy, as I knew she was very bright and thought otherwise she would be bored at school. She is now in a selectively streamed Yr 5 class ..

#14 mum850

Posted 25 January 2013 - 06:37 AM

QUOTE (RealityBites @ 24/01/2013, 11:13 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
I think it will be a waste of time with my very shy (initially) daughter.

Also I had to laugh at a PP's obsession with early reading. I deliberately didnt teach DD1 to read before kindy, as I knew she was very bright and thought otherwise she would be bored at school. She is now in a selectively streamed Yr 5 class ..



I presume this is me?
You are laughing at me because of my obsession with early reading.

What a pointlessly mean and hurtful  thing to say.

I didn't teach my son to read. I have video of him doing what we thought at the time was reciting a book by heart, but it turned out he was reading. He was two. When he wen to school he was reading chapter books or novels while the class was doing one letter a week. He was so totally, utterly miserable at school that... anyway better not to go into the details I guess, my point is that he was profoundly unhappy. I did tell them that he could read but I didn't know it was unusual and as it turns out, they didn't believe me. I only found out that that was the case when he became so unhappy that we had to get ed psychs and stuff involved and they told the school that he was reading 7 years ahead of age. The school did not know. At this time my son was pretty much refusing to participate in most activities at school. He was 5.

Still laughing?

I am not "obsessed" with early reading. Some bright kids learn to read before school  and some do not.  My  point is that I am happy that the best start assessment  MAY pick up what level all the kids are at so the teacher can pitch things appropriately for them. Maybe if my son had had one, as my daughter did, the teacher would have realised and saved him many months of misery with ant in the apple, a a, a

How lovely that your daughter is doing well.

#15 RealityBites

Posted 25 January 2013 - 10:03 AM

Sorry, didn't mean to come across as snide. Of course if the child is teaching themselves, there is not much you can do. But that sort of miserable outcome was just was I was afraid of. And my faith in the public school system is not great - it is really up to the school to make the best use of the results. If they don't have a g+ t program (which DD1's school did not) there is not much they will do. I was told by her 1st grade teacher 'she is just a kid', ie let her be a kid, no extension work necessary.

#16 José

Posted 25 January 2013 - 10:30 AM

QUOTE (qak @ 24/01/2013, 09:55 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
I understtod that Best Start was universal among public schools in NSW?  I had never thought of it in the context of the OP, but can see that point of view.  DS school (Catholic) did assessments during orientation, with the aim of making an even split of abilities/personalities and/or working out who would be best suited to a class together (or not, as the case may be!).

In any case now they are going into Y1 and there is going to be quite a bit of movement between the two classes ... this does suggest that things have changed a lot in one year ie what is the point of the assessment?


As for the point of the assessment I think some hope it will eventually link to naplan.  Si when some schools habe poor year three results when best start is taken into account they may still demonstrate the growth the kids have made.  As we kniw some kids start school with many skills and supportive parents and others come without ever having been read to and not knowing anything about what to do with a book etc.

#17 Julie3Girls

Posted 25 January 2013 - 10:54 AM

Of course things change by yr 1.  The kids have had a whole year of schooling, some kids are going to find learning very easy and go from not reading at all to reading at grade 2 level by the end of the year.  Others might have been more advanced to begin with, but their progress might be slower at this point.  Some kids might have been at equal level when they started, but one might have learning difficulties.

Doesn't make initial assessment pointless. It gives the teachers a a starting point.  A good teacher will be able to recognise pretty quickly if the best start was wrong ... Dd2's teacher told me so within 2 weeks of having dd in her class. Best start is just a quick way to get a bit of a benchmark of where the class sits.

Going into yr1, classes will get shuffled. Classes are not just set up based on academics in primary, there are a lot of factors.  But even going through every year, their position academically can change. Doesn't mean they shouldn't be assessed in case thing change in the next year.

#18 Kemismum

Posted 25 January 2013 - 01:11 PM

My kids school said the same thing but what we noticed was they really already had the classes made up as the majority of kids were in the class with the same teacher who did the assessment except for a couple.

From what I can tell it is not just about academics. The school don't know much about these kids so its a good opportunity to determine the shy ones and the strong willed ones etc and make sure that there is a good mix of personalities as well as pre school knowledge in the class and no potential conflicts. It helps ensure the in the two classes in my kids school you don't have one class full of shy kids and the other full of outgoing kids, or disruptive kids or one class full of kids who have benefitted from a great preschool experience and the other with kids who have had none for example.

For example I would have hated if Ds was in a class of shy kids as he needed outgoing kids to bring him out of his shell and being the youngest he didn't necessarily have the same knowledge as most of the other kids. I would not have been happy if he ended up in a class with only those like him. Therefore I think it's good idea for the school to get bit of knowledge of the kids and ensure a mix.

Dd on the other hand will be trouble if she ends up in a class full of strong willed kids ( which I imagine would drive the teacher mad)

And of course it changes year to year as kids change at different rates.

its not perfect but its better than putting together classes with no knowledge of the kids at all.

#19 Kemismum

Posted 25 January 2013 - 01:11 PM

.

Edited by Kemismum, 25 January 2013 - 01:13 PM.





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