Turns out my son loves the online preschool we signed up for this year. And I’m glad. Not out of relief that I don’t have to coax him (I was definitely prepared to drop it in a heartbeat before I ever used one of those motivational badges they mail out). But because it’s simply a pleasure to watch him enjoy learning.
He loves the the dancing letters, the rhymes, the songs.
But there is one thing that he does not enjoy: the tests. In fact, I recently watched him go through a brief alphabet assessment, clicking the bottom right choice for every single letter.
The program seems unable to detect the growth I perceive. After all, its assessment does not know…
…that he loves to practice making letters with his body.
…that he walks around sounding out the phonemes for various objects around the house.
…that he often turns his toys into letters or numbers and eagerly shows them to me.
…that he is actually starting to read (he seems to know the sounds letters make better than the names of the letters themselves).
So no matter how slowly the charts might curve upward on his data reports, I know the truth that more is happening than is being measured.
The fact remains that tests simply can’t pick up on growth indicators that trained humans can. We must be careful not to place too much weight (and certainly not too much anxiety regarding our kids’ growth) in what those computers “know.” Focus instead on emphasizing the learning you observe!