Using The Lollipop Test to Assess School Readiness

The Lollipop Test photo

Children need to have specific skills before they start school. Preschool teachers play a role in preparing students and helping them develop. Kindergarten assessments ensure a child is ready to begin formal schooling. Learning facilities can choose from various school readiness tests in today’s age. However, many kindergarten assessment tools have limitations. Age-appropriate testing gauges young learners’ potential. Many state and local government bodies have specific pre-k tests chosen. Often, school readiness and kindergarten tests also assess teachers’ skills. However, learning centers can implement additional tools to prepare students to start school. The Lollipop Test gives preschool teachers an accurate and effective option. Developed by Dr. Alex Chew, this reputable tool costs only $3/child and can be administered in 15 minutes. The Specimen Set tests 25 students with only a need to re-purchase scoring booklets for future testing needs.

The Lollipop Test takes less time than other mainstream kindergarten assessments. Preschool teachers can also record pre-k and post-k scores and document students’ progress. Learning centers can keep track of a child’s mastery of school readiness skills. The Lollipop Test is set to national norms and has been theoretically proven. The Developmental and Interpretive Manual shows considerable research throughout the last 40 years. Worldwide studies prove Dr. Chew’s visionary school readiness test is culturally fair. The pre-k assessment has been featured in numerous journal articles and peer reviews. The test is also in the ERIC database, sponsored by the U.S. Department of Education. The University of Toronto also performed a study in Canada that validates The Lollipop Test.

Historical Background of The Lollipop Test

Preschool and pre-k assessments were rare 40-50 years ago, which Dr. Chew saw firsthand. As a school psychologist, he developed The Lollipop Test as part of his dissertation. The kindergarten assessment tool was first published in 1981 and is now in its 4th edition. The school readiness tool was updated in 2020 and continues to be widely used today. Recognized as groundbreaking work, Dr. Chew developed an affordable kindergarten assessment tool. Teachers can quickly administer The Lollipop Test and individually assess students. The test takes approximately 15 minutes and is non-threatening to children. Learning centers can create local norms and take remedial action if needed. Teachers can delve deeper and gather information for remediation in certain circumstances.

This early education test continues to be administered across North and South America. Considerable research has proven The Lollipop Test’s effectiveness in different countries. The kindergarten assessment is culturally fair and can be applied to all preschoolers. Dr. Chew has designed it to statewide, national, and local norms. He provides resources for learning centers to create data and examine the results. The Lollipop Test was initially implemented in Head Start Programs in Georgia. Preschool teachers can easily set up and use the school readiness tool. The Developmental and Interpretive Manual provides diagnostic information for learning centers.

Dr. Chew chose lollipops to create a fun and colorful theme to test young children. The design of the tool focuses on not intimidating preschool students. Around age four, students can be assessed for school readiness. Learning centers can monitor a child’s progress for timely entry to formal school. Depending on jurisdiction guidelines, the grade may be kindergarten or 1st grade. The Lollipop Test can be administered individually or in small groups of 3-4. Teachers get to interact with the students and see their reactions. Administrators gain a better understanding of an individual child’s needs. The Lollipop Test lets teachers and students ask questions during the evaluation.

The Lollipop Test is easy to administer and does not require psychology professionals. This tool assesses children of all socioeconomic backgrounds. You can purchase the entire school readiness Specimen Set at $75.00 or its individual components. We offer the Developmental and Interpretive Manual, Testing Booklets, and Stimulus Cards individually for convenience. Preschool testing sets students up for success throughout their entire academic careers. Many expensive school readiness assessments do not address areas to strengthen. The Lollipop Test lets teachers correct issues during the exam. Dr. Chew’s tool lets preschool children use expressive language and form sentences. Other tests use single words and don’t check students’ drawing and writing skills. The Lollipop Test has sections that use pencil and paper to check school readiness. Unlike other kindergarten school readiness assessments, teachers can also measure fine motor skills.

Research Validity and Effectiveness in Comparisons to the MRT and DIAL Tests

In 2013 Pearson Assessments retired the MRT (Metropolitan Readiness Test.) Pearson also makes the DIAL (Developmental Indicator of Assessment Learning). The Lollipop Test was compared to this school readiness tool, as well. The Developmental and Interpretive Manual shows the results. Data demonstrates concurrent and predictive validity compared to the DIAL-4.

In 2013 Pearson Assessments retired the MRT (Metropolitan Readiness Test.) Pearson also makes the DIAL (Developmental Indicator of Assessment Learning). The Lollipop Test was compared to this school readiness tool, as well. The Developmental and Interpretive Manual shows the results. Data demonstrates concurrent and predictive validity compared to the DIAL-4.

Since its development, Dr. Chew’s work has been cited and studied in many journal publications. Peer-reviewed articles have also been written regarding the effectiveness of The Lollipop Test. The American Psychological Association and The Reading Teacher have recognized the groundbreaking work. The test’s manual features all the research, citations, and statistics. School administrators can view tables presenting the norms and results of numerous studies.

Notably, researchers have assessed The Lollipop Test’s cultural bias and fairness. The Rasch Model and IPARM software studied 61 four and five-year-olds in Georgia and Florida. The subjects included 25 white, 24 black, and 12 Hispanic American children. The research concludes no cultural or gender bias is detected. Another published study evaluates The Lollipop Test as a predictor of California Achievement Test scores.

Differences in The Lollipop Test and Pearson Kindergarten Assessment Tools

  • Time of Kindergarten Test

The Pearson DIAL takes two hours to administer, as did the MRT before its retirement. The Lollipop Test takes only 15 minutes for kindergarten assessment. Teachers can easily set up and use the school readiness test.

  • Test Administration

Professional psychologists test students when using the Pearson assessment tools. Preschool teachers or learning center administrators can give children The Lollipop Test. Pearson’s kindergarten assessments can discourage and intimidate students due to group testing. Preschool-aged children can also feel nervousness when taking the DIAL-4. More expensive school readiness assessments include a lot of directions. The Lollipop Test is non-threatening, culturally fair, and theoretically proven.

  • Cost of Kindergarten Testing

The Lollipop Test Specimen Set costs only $75 for all components. Pearson Assessments DIAL-4 has two kits to choose from costing $353.00 or $772.90.

  • Price Per Student

Purchasing the Pearson DIAL-4 gives facilities the resources to test 50 children, costing $7.06-$15.44 per student. The Lollipop Test Set gives preschool teachers adequate supplies for 25 children. The Stimulus Cards and Manual have a protective coating for repeated use. Teachers only need to regularly purchase 25 packs of Administration and Scoring Booklets ($39.95).

  • Over 40 Years of Proven Effectiveness

The Lollipop Test was developed over 40 years ago, and research still shows validity. Dr. Chew revisited the data in 2020. His kindergarten assessment still sets students up for academic success. The Developmental and Interpretive Manual contains data and statistics. Listed are citations, studies, tables, and early educational literature noting The Lollipop Test.

  • Number of Components

Pearson’s DIAL-4 has an overwhelming number of components that can look intimidating. The bulky kindergarten test can cause apprehension among children from its mere presence. The Lollipop Test contains 1 Manual, 1 Set of Stimulus Cards, and 1 Pack of Scoring Booklets. Pearson provides four canvas totes to carry all the materials. The Lollipop Test is not as obstructive and has a low-key presence. Preschool children feel more at ease. The kindergarten assessment can take place in their natural learning environment.

  • Instructions Include How to Develop Local Norms

The Developmental and Interpretive Manual demonstrates years of research and national norms. Dr. Chew recognizes that sometimes local criteria may be better and more appropriate. He provides instructions on how to develop regional models using The Lollipop Test. He also offers constructive details on how to interpret the percentiles.

  • Focuses on the Individual Child

Dr. Chew recognizes that all children learn differently and are unique. His vast experience led him to develop this school readiness assessment. Preschool teachers have the choice on how to administer The Lollipop Test. Facilities can assess individual students or small groups of 3-4. During the kindergarten assessment, administrators can evaluate the child’s reactions. The school readiness test is fun and interactive, where questions can be asked. Children have an opportunity to speak sentences. Preschoolers get to point out details through expressive language. Students also get to demonstrate their writing skills during the school readiness assessment. The Lollipop Test helps learning centers understand the needs of each individual child.

  • Documents Pre-K and Post-K Developmental Skills

The Lollipop Test serves as a pre-k assessment tool to diagnose learning opportunities. Preschool teachers can gather information during the testing if the student needs remediation. The Scoring Booklet lets the administrator document the child’s progress. The Lollipop Test records pre-k and post-k performance. Facilities can monitor students’ mastery of school readiness skills.

Steps to Administer The Lollipop Test

The quick, non-threatening test goes through several steps to assess young students’ abilities. In approximately 15 minutes, a preschool teacher can perform the school readiness assessment. The Developmental and Interpretive Manual gives instructions. Dr. Chew shows how to administer and score The Lollipop Test.

  1. The test starts with kindergarten-aged children identifying items from the Stimulus Cards. Teachers first have students point out the colors of the lollipops.
  2. The school readiness test then has preschoolers identify the shapes of lollipops.
  3. After identification, The Lollipop Test introduces association with pictures. Teachers then show images, including a cat and its kittens. Young children have the opportunity to mention details and form sentences. The more students notice and speak about, the more points they score. The identification and association exercises measure critical thinking skills. Young children also have an opportunity to use expressive language, demonstrating creativity.
  4. Once the picture exercises are complete, lollipops are re-introduced. Teachers then administer size distinction activities. Preschoolers point out smaller and larger-sized lollipops.
  5. The next portion of the school readiness assessment includes numbers and letters. The administrator shows a page with numbers 1-10 and another with 15 letters. The teacher asks the children to point out certain alphabetical letters. The Lollipop Test administrator then points at letters and has students identify them.
  6. Finally, young children are asked to write their names. Points are allocated for letters used, and the school readiness test is complete.

The administrators then tally up the quick and painless kindergarten readiness tool. Teachers will determine if children are ready to attend formal schooling. This exam also checks for trouble spots that can be strengthened. Learn more about Dr. Chew’s vision and the reliable and effective Lollipop Test in this Statesboro Herald article by Roger Allen.