Preschool teachers play a prominent role in children’s development and education. One responsibility includes ensuring students are ready to start kindergarten. Administering pre-k tests vary based on the product. Some assessments require a psychologist, and many are taken in group settings. Dr. Alex Chew developed The Lollipop Test to assess school readiness skills. Teachers can implement this tool to preschoolers individually or in small groups. Administrators can track a child’s progress and abilities throughout their early learning. Teachers also have an opportunity to offer remediation to address trouble spots.
Dr. Chew, a former school psychologist, carefully devised The Lollipop Test. His expertise in early childhood development and education factors in learning and behaviors. Teachers can administer this kindergarten readiness test in approximately 15 minutes. The process is quick and painless for preschool children. Multiple research studies have proven the assessment’s effectiveness for nearly 40 years. Notably, the school readiness tool has also been validated as culturally fair.
Young children also develop behaviors that can impact their education and test-taking abilities. While administering some pre-k assessments, students can feel a sense of deservingness. In some instances, teachers can praise preschoolers by saying, “good job.” A child’s brain processes words and actions. Positive feedback may be viewed as a recognized reward or extrinsic motivation. Praise can lead to negative behavioral patterns in school and home environments. In an educational setting, an example includes checking the same box on every answer of an exam. Students looking for attention can also negatively react when seeing others get recognition. The Lollipop Test is interactive but focuses on encouragement, not praise.
Dr. Chew addresses children’s behavior in his book, A Primer on Adlerian Psychology. He distinguishes the difference between praise and encouragement. The Lollipop Test fosters encouragement among students. The school readiness assessment prevents praising young children who have very malleable minds.
As a teacher, you want to encourage a child during testing. Preschoolers benefit in these ways:
- Focuses on effort and improvement
- Builds self-confidence in children
- Develops courage when facing adversity
- Children can admit when they’re wrong or make a mistake
- Fosters progress to work towards a goal
- Creates internal or intrinsic motivation
- Teaches young children appreciation
- Helps develop perseverance and determination
The Lollipop Test has been developed and prevents teachers from praising preschoolers. While giving and receiving praise is great, it also has disadvantages. The negative impacts include:
- Teaches children conformity
- May cause a sense of entitlement where a child feels they’re owed something
- Instills behaviors of trying to please others
- Temporarily rewarding, children only feel worthwhile when they’re ahead of others
- Praise may develop a fear of disapproval where students stop contributing
- Can create perfectionism and potential feelings of inferiority
- A child may only feel valuable when they think they’re living up to others’ standards
- Lead to a sense of discouragement and insecurity
- If overused, repetitive praise becomes meaningless
- Halt motivation in children where they don’t want to try
Standardized kindergarten testing causes anxiety in some children. The Lollipop Test is easy for teachers to administer and non-threatening to students. Preschools can implement this school readiness tool in addition to others. Ensuring a child has the skillset to start school is essential. Scores on a validated assessment correlate with future academic success. The Lollipop Test offers insight into preschoolers’ learning and development. The scoring booklets allow teachers to track a child’s progress throughout the year. Communicating and involving parents also help prepare young learners to enter kindergarten.