Welcome to kindergarten: Let the state-mandated testing begin

Welcome to kindergarten: Let the state-mandated testing begin

EUGENE, Ore. - Students returned to Prairie Mountain School on Tuesday, and already the school's newest pupils have a test scheduled for next week.

Welcome to kindergarten.

Before this year, standardized testing started in third grade.

Starting this year, state-mandated testing begins in kindergarten.

"It's getting a feel on where our kids are coming in, so we can provide the best instruction for them, know how to place them in a reading group, and know what they need in order to go on," said Jennifer Haliski, principal of Prairie Mountain School.

Oregon now requires assessment of all kindergartners to see how much they know about shapes, numbers, letters and sounds.

District officials said parents don't need to worry about your kindergartener studying for a test they weren't prepared for or filling in a bunch of bubbles on the first day of kindergarten.

In fact, more than half of the test is just like play time.

"We're talking about kinders," said Tom Endersby with the Junction City School District. "Circling or filling a square may not even assess, you know, what they really know because that's more of a motor skill almost."

Teachers in Junction City completed their training for the exam Tuesday morning. School starts Wednesday.

"It's over a period of time, so it's not oh wow one big push," Endersby said. "Each kid comes out one-on-one with the person that's going to do the assessment."

Schools are expected to complete their evaluations within 8 weeks of starting the new school year.