The Director of Teaching and Learning for the Unit Five School District says she hopes a new pilot program to measure the academic and social development needs of young learners will result in fewer students being held for another year of Kindergarten over readiness issues. The Development Survey relies on observations by trained teachers, several times over the course of the school year. Unit 5's Jennifer Gill says this identifies individual weakness more effectively than a one-time assessment.
"We are going to understand where students are, be able to identify certain strategies and skills that they need to learn and grow and then design a curriculum that actually helps them grow on that continuum so that they are ready for that first grade."
The program's goal for this year is to gather feedback on the survey's effectiveness and train teachers. The State Board of Education is using the program developed in California as a pilot in about 60 districts including Unit Five. State officials hope to tweak it in time for the survey to be used state-wide by 2016.
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