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Why assess children at this age?

‘Assessment’ has become something of a dirty word today, associated with a culture of over-testing.

When we hear ‘assessment’ we often think of stressed children and teachers, all being distracted from what should be a natural process of learning.

mother and daughter

Mother and daughter

However, there is a big difference between assessment to build school league tables and assessment to build a better understanding of a child’s needs, to tailor individual support and inspire learning.

We call this ‘Assessment for Learning’. This is a way of building an ongoing picture of a child’s development, to be able to respond appropriately to their changing needs. Assessment for Learning helps identify the best next steps specifically for them and how best to help them work towards these goals.

Children develop at different rates and will acquire some skills more readily than others. Each child develops a unique pattern of strengths and needs that will inform so much of what they do and how they learn. 

The Smart Cat games focus on key skills: the skills that underpin learning and early development. These are the skills each child must use when learning to read, write, calculate and tackle countless tasks in and out of the classroom.

Cause and Effect.

You can look at it in terms of ‘cause’ and ‘effect’.

If a child struggles with reading or writing due to a perceived learning difficulty, or they are flying ahead because they are gifted in certain areas, this is the ‘effect’: the final outcome which we can all see.

Smart Cat looks at the ‘causes’ lying beneath this:

Why is one child struggling and the other flying ahead? Why is a child good at some things and not others? These causes are often not immediately apparent, and need to be identified if we are to understand how best to help.

By assessing a child’s learning profile in this way, focusing on the skills lying beneath the behaviour we can see, Smart Cat can provide parents and teachers with valuable information about a child’s strengths and needs. The games can highlight what the child is good at and where they may struggle. They may also identify early signs of certain learning difficulties - and experts all agree the sooner difficulties can be identified, the earlier the right support can be provided.

And remember by using interactive games that give praise and encouragement, Smart Cat can measure a child’s abilities whilst boosting their self esteem and giving them some fun!

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A great diagnostic tool for target areas! A major plus is, of course, the children’s own enjoyment. How many assessments do we undertake where they are having fun?
Teach Primary Magazine

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