Testing children in kindergarten is becoming common practice. Oregon will begin testing all 5-year-olds next fall to assess their “readiness” for kindergarten. It is never too soon to test children, and some states have drafted standards for pre-schoolers.

How did this happen? An article by Stephanie Simon in Reuters explains it all.

“Testing young children is not a new concept. In the 1980s, many states assessed children to determine whether they were ready to enter kindergarten or first grade. Experts in child development denounced the practice as unfair and unreliable and it faded out.

In recent years, however, the federal law known as No Child Left Behind has put pressure on schools to raise scores on the standardized reading and math tests given to students starting around age 8. Schools that post poor scores are labeled failing; principals and teachers can lose their jobs.

With the stakes so high, many administrators have decided to start testing in the earlier grades, to give kids practice and to identify students who need help.

The Obama administration accelerated the trend in 2011 with a $500 million competitive grant to bolster early childhood education. States that pledged to assess all kindergarteners earned extra points on their applications.”

So now state after state is falling into line, testing the littlest students to find out what they know and what they don’t know. The experts are strangely silent about whether this is developmentally appropriate. It is never too soon to start compiling data, it seems.