beginning of the year kindergarten assessments

I opened my DMs this morning to a message asking about beginning of the year kindergarten assessments.  A new kindergarten teacher had a lot of questions about assessing her incoming kindergarteners.  After I sent my response, I thought this information might be helpful to other teachers as well.  In this post, I’ll share all the tips for assessments at the beginning of kindergarten.

Beginning of the Year Kindergarten Assessments

The resource that I use to administer my beginning of the year is the same tool that I rely on for progress monitoring, report card assessments, mid and end of the year assessments.  My Kindergarten Assessments Binder is what I call my Kindergarten Bible.  It has all the Math, ELA, and Writing assessments I need for the ENTIRE YEAR in one grab and go resource.  Both printable and virtual options are included along with scoring pages you can easily send home to parents.

What to Assess at the Beginning of Kindergarten

Here’s what I assess at the beginning of kindergarten.  Working with the students one at a time, I begin by having them write their names as I check their pencil grip.  I then use the following baseline assessments.  I show the student the color copies as I score them on the white copies.

First, we begin with colors.  This sets them up for success as most kids enter knowing their colors!

Next, we move onto numbers 1 to 20.  It is quite common for kids not to know 11-20.  If students seem frustrated at any point, I will stop the assessment and write a note for the parents.  While the goal is to gain data, I certainly do not want to cause any anxiety or frustration.  I always tell the kids that they aren’t supposed to know everything.  That’s why they are in kindergarten!

Then, we move onto letters.  I assess the uppercase first.  If they know these well, I will do the lowercase.  Again, I follow the same procedure as above.  If students are unsure or hesitant, we pause the assessment and make a parent note.

When to Administer Beginning of the Year Assessments

I recommend waiting until the second week of kindergarten to begin assessing your students.  If you do it too early, students may not “show what they know” simply because they are shy or nervous.  It’s best to give them some time to warm up to you before diving right into testing!

Because these are one-on-one assessments, it can take a week or two to collect the data.  You can do 3 to 5 kids a day, or whatever works best for you.  You may also do one assessment at a time.  For example, have all kids complete the number assessment and then move on.

What to Have the Other Kids Work On

I pull the kids individually at my teacher table while the others work on various skills.  I find that my FINE MOTOR BINS keep the kids engaged long enough for me to get through at least a few kids each day.  If you have class iPads, they work well because the kids are quiet while you are testing.

Fine Motor Morning Bins


Benefits of Beginning of the Year Kindergarten Assessments

When I send home copies of the baseline assessments to the parents, I explain to them that this is not a formal assessment.  Rather, it is a tool that helps me meet their individual learner exactly where they are.  It allows me to deliver differentiated instruction based on what each student needs.  I assure the parents that there is no need to worry.  As I tell the kids, I also let the parents know that we do not expect the children to know everything in August!

I do suggest that parents use the assessments as a guide to help their kindergartener practice name writing and learn letters and numbers.

You do not have to send the assessment copies home.   It is completely up to you! For several years, I decided to just use the data myself.  Then, I had several parents reach out asking how they can help their students.  Most parents seem to appreciate the feedback!


The Kindergarten Assessments Binder

You may purchase the Kindergarten Assessments Binder in my Kindergarten Korner Shop Site or in my TPT Store.  If you use this resource in your classroom, I would love to hear from you!


Casey Stewart is a kindergarten teacher and founder of Kindergarten Korner.  She has 17 years of experience teaching in kindergarten, first, and second grade.  She created to inspire fellow educators and help guide parents and homeschooling families on their journey throughout the magical kindergarten experience.  Casey also has three kids of her own at home.  Learn more about her HERE.  

Casey Stewart Kindergarten Korner