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US kindergarten exams put 5-year-olds to the test

Published on Sep 25, 2012 2:18 PM
 
More exams are on the way for kindergarten students, including a test meant to determine whether 5-year-olds are on track to succeed in college and career. -- FILE PHOTO: AFP

(REUTERS) - With school in full swing across the United States (US), the littlest students are getting used to the blocks table and the dress-up corner - and that staple of American public education, the standardised test.

A national push to make public schools more rigorous and hold teachers more accountable has led to a vast expansion of testing in kindergarten. More exams are on the way, including a test meant to determine whether 5-year-olds are on track to succeed in college and career.

Mr Paul Weeks, a vice president at test developer ACT Inc., says he knows that particular assessment sounds a bit nutty, especially since many kindergarteners aspire to careers as superheroes. "What skills do you need for that, right? Flying is good. X-ray vision?" he said, laughing.

But ACT will soon roll out college- and career-readiness exams for kids age 8 through 18 and Mr Weeks said developing similar tests for younger ages is "high on our agenda." Asking kids to predict the ending of a story or to suggest a different ending, for instance, can identify the critical thinking skills that employers prize, he said.

 
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