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How to Create and Effectively Use Preschool Assessment Forms

Discover how to create and effectively use preschool assessments to support children’s development at your center and strengthen your curriculum.

How to Create and Effectively Use Preschool Assessment Forms

How to Create and Effectively Use Preschool Assessment Forms

Preschool assessment forms are integral to the nurturing environment of your classroom. They offer valuable insights that help your staff stay focused on fostering early childhood learning. Additionally, these forms can be utilized to refine your curriculum, address the strengths and areas for growth within your class, and enhance family communication. By incorporating preschool assessment forms, your entire program reaps the benefits, fostering growth at every stage for the children, their families, and your staff.

In this article, we explore effective strategies for using preschool assessment forms in your childcare program and provide examples to help you track children's progress.

A teacher supporting a child with coloring Source

How to use preschool assessment forms

Assessments can be used at different points in the learning process to better understand what children know, their progress over time, and what they’ve learned. Assessments types to consider include: 

  • Formative: You use these assessments to help evaluate children during the learning process. 
  • Summative: These assessments help determine how much a child has learned after a lesson.
  • Interim: Interim assessments work like a hybrid of the previous two styles. This method allows you to track growth over time by assessing children during a lesson and at the end.

The type of preschool assessment form you choose will ultimately depend on your lesson plans and goals for each child. Brightwheel's progress reports make it easy to track student progress. With customizable portfolio templates and simplified assessment practices, you can monitor each child's progress against state standards or your program's learning framework and share progress instantly with families. 

The below strategies will streamline your assessment process, enabling you to confidently monitor children's progress and improve your program.

1. Creating a preschool assessment form

It's important to check your state regulations and guidelines before creating your assessment forms to ensure you are meeting all requirements. Additionally, other states’ guidelines could contain valuable examples you can use for your forms.

Some resources include: 

Pay attention to and note any developmental milestones for your children’s age groups. For example, which milestones will children reach by the end of your program? Will they be able to cut with scissors, count up to 30, or recognize the letters of the alphabet? 

Next, identify the primary categories you will assess (e.g., language and literacy, fine motor skills, social-emotional development). These categories will reflect the developmental milestones you highlighted in the first step.

Then, list the criteria you’ll use to determine each child's progress in each category. If you’re assessing a child’s literacy skills, for example, list tasks they will be able to complete. 

Finally, add your milestones, categories, and criteria to a document. You can use a template with a standardized rating system to build out your form—try the one available for download at the end of this article. 

Remember to reference state guidelines every year as they may change.

a teacher giving a child a trophySource

2. Completing your assessments

The next step is conducting assessments of the children in your care. Observe each child over a predetermined period to determine whether or not they've reached the milestones outlined on your assessment forms.

Children's performance will vary daily, so administering one “test” may not indicate their overall ability. Instead, look for consistent progress by a child to the point where they regularly meet the criteria for development. For example, a child who regularly chooses to engage in art and writing activities while showing a high level of fine motor skills might meet your highest standards for mastery of fine motor skills.

Also, collect materials for child portfolios while completing preschool assessment forms. This helps build a complete timeline of each child's progress with examples, comprehensive notes, and objective standards to show growth. Keeping a portfolio and formal assessment on the same timeline streamlines how you evaluate a child's development.

3. Using forms to enrich the curriculum

As you complete your assessments, pay attention to any general patterns or themes that emerge. What similarities do all children share? Are specific skills stronger? Where are growth opportunities?

Use these observations to make changes to your preschool curriculum. For example, you can adopt a more advanced lesson plan or offer more challenging activities where children's knowledge is strong. Conversely, address gaps in knowledge by understanding each child’s zone of proximal development and supporting their learning through scaffolding techniques.

If only a few children need support or more challenging activities in a certain area, include them in your lesson plan. Be sure that any staff working in your classroom is aware of children that may need extra or different learning experiences, and plan for how these new activities could affect classroom dynamics. 

You can't always predict the strengths or interests of your classroom, but you can regularly course correct to better support progress and development. Look at your materials at the end of a session and use your data to improve your offerings. Note which lessons could be modified to suit faster development and what worked to strengthen a group's less-developed skills.

4. Sharing progress with families

The final stage is discussing the assessment results with families. This step is a great way to open a conversation with parents concerned about kindergarten readiness. Formal assessments provide a more objective benchmark to demonstrate where children are developmentally.

Assessments highlight a child's strengths and growth areas. Review the child's formal assessment with their portfolio when talking with families. Include samples of their work, staff notes, and even videos. Extra materials create a holistic picture of a child's growth.

Preschool assessment form examples

Preschool assessment forms allow you to monitor the development and progress of your children. At this age, children’s development is typically focused on the alphabet, colors, math, and shapes, among other skills. 

Use the following preschool evaluation forms to help guide your curriculum and enrich your lesson plans.

Alphabet assessment

Children typically start learning the alphabet around two or three years old, with their familiarity growing over the next few years. Alphabet assessments can show if children can recognize the letters in the alphabet and if they can make connections between the letters and their sounds. This example randomizes the letters to assess children's skills. 

preschool alphabet assessment Source

Color assessment

Some children can recognize colors as early as 18 months, but preschool is usually where they focus on identifying colors. You can use this preschool color assessment form as an example of a test on colors and words. This assessment also tests the ability to identify colors based on visual cues. 

preschool color assessment


Early math skills assessment

In preschool, children begin mastering number identification and counting. Strengthening and monitoring their basic skills is paramount as they build towards learning larger numbers.  

preschool number assessment


Shape assessment

Identifying shapes is another skill children start developing around two years old. With visual cues and auditory repetition of the words, they can begin learning basic shapes like circles, squares, triangles, and rectangles. From there, they can move to more advanced shapes like ovals, diamonds, stars, and hearts as they advance. 

Naming shapes might take longer to develop than recognizing the shape; however, this preschool assessment form helps determine how well your children are doing. 

preschool shapes assessment


If you are in the process of creating or updating your preschool assessment forms, check out our template here (click to make a copy of the Google doc and edit to meet your needs). It includes the five categories of development as outlined by the Georgia Early Learning and Development Standards and an example of assessment criteria for each. You can easily modify the template to reflect the guidelines you use at your preschool.

Use assessment forms to your advantage

The assessment cycle builds a natural rhythm into your program planning and provides valuable touch points for families and staff. Despite the name, you can use preschool assessment forms for more than gauging and recording children's progress; they can play a part in strengthening your curriculum and forging better relationships with families.

Brightwheel is the complete solution for early education providers, enabling you to streamline your center’s operations and build a stand-out reputation. Brightwheel connects the most critical aspects of running your center—including sign in and out, parent communications, tuition billing, and licensing and compliance—in one easy-to-use tool, along with providing best-in-class customer support and coaching. Brightwheel is trusted by thousands of early education centers and millions of parents. Learn more at

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