Expert Iconexpert advice MORE

Kindergarten Screening Tests

Education Expert Advice from Peggy Gisler, Ed.S. and Marge Eberts, Ed.S.

Q: We just received the results of our six-year-old son's kindergarten screening, and he scored in the lower portion of average. This really surprised us because his pre-K teacher from last year told me that she believed that he was gifted. We know that he is a very bright boy because he is already reading on his own, can add numbers, is great at spelling, and has an incredible vocabulary. What could be some possible reasons for the discrepancy?

A: Don't be concerned with this test score. Kindergarten screening tests are not extremely reliable testing instruments. This occurs for several reasons. The test may be developed locally and not even test what it says it tests. The administrators of these tests are frequently inexperienced and may have had little or no training in giving the test. Perhaps, the biggest reason that these test scores are not too meaningful is because young children are simply not good test takers. Most have never been in a testing situation before. Imagine how stressful it is for a young child to be confronted by a stranger and asked to do a variety of tasks, including some they have never done previously. And of course, they don't realize that it is important for them to do their best on these tests.

One single test should never determine the placement of a child in a school program or produce a label for a child. Tests should always be just part of the evaluation picture for any school situation. In your son's case, the opinion of his pre-K teacher is very important. This individual had the opportunity to see your son for a year or more and observe how well he was able to handle pre-kindergarten learning. Her opinion should certainly be more accurate, and you should consider it to be a truer picture of your son's ability. Plus, you say that he is already reading and adding on his own. Low average children who are entering kindergarten simply do not have these capabilities.

More on: Expert Advice

Peggy Gisler and Marge Eberts are experienced teachers who have more than 60 educational publications to their credit. They began writing books together in 1979. Careers for Bookworms was a Book-of-the-Month Club paperback selection, and Pancakes, Crackers, and Pizza received recognition from the Children's Reading Roundtable. Gisler and Eberts taught in classrooms from kindergarten through graduate school. Both have been supervisors at the Butler University Reading Center.

Please note: This "Expert Advice" area of FamilyEducation.com should be used for general information purposes only. Advice given here is not intended to provide a basis for action in particular circumstances without consideration by a competent professional. Before using this Expert Advice area, please review our General and Medical Disclaimers.


Where Should Newborns Sleep?
We've rounded up all the alternatives and considerations to make a safe choice for your new addition.

Find Today's Newest & Best Children's Books!
Looking for newly released books for your child? Try our new Book Finder tool to search for new books by age, type, and theme, and create reading lists for kids!

5 Tips to Help Make Your Child Self-Sufficient
Follow these tips to help your child become self-sufficient, and help him learn the skills he'll need to take care of himself.

Ready for Kindergarten?
Try our award-winning Kindergarten Readiness app! This easy-to-use checklist comes with games and activities to help your child build essential skills for kindergarten. Download the Kindergarten Readiness app today!

stay connected

Sign up for our free email newsletters and receive the latest advice and information on all things parenting.

Enter your email address to sign up or manage your account.

Facebook icon Facebook icon Follow Us on Pinterest

editor’s picks