What Is Asked During a Pre-K Assessment Test?

A preschool assessment can help to determine your child's strengths, developmental level, learning style and areas for improvement. When it comes down to it, the pre-k assessment is asking questions that look at your child's needs and progress. While the pre-k assessment isn't a formal test such as the SATs that your teen takes, your child may need to answer questions about her basic knowledge, content-specific information, social situations or how she handles emotions.

Age Appropriate Content Knowledge

Chances are that your preschooler's assessment won't ask him to complete complicated calculus questions, conjugate French verbs, list the distance of each planet from the sun or delve into the meanings behind a surrealist painting. Questions in a knowledge-based pre-k assessment should focus on what the child can realistically learn for his age level. For example, instead of asking your child to compute the angles of various geometric objects, he may need to point to or draw basic shapes such as circles, squares or triangles. Likewise, your child won't have to solve physics equations, but may have to explain that a ball falls to the ground when he drops it because there is a thing called gravity.


Your child's pre-k teacher may want to see where she is when it comes to literacy learning. This doesn't mean that the teacher will happily hand over a lengthy novel and ask your 4-year-old to read it. Instead, the assessor may question your child about her alphabetic knowledge. Your child may need to list or say the letters that she knows, point to letters when sounds are made or even read a few simple sight words.

Content-Based Questions

What's your preschooler learning during his school day? You aren't the only one who is wondering about this question. An assessment that looks at what the kids are learning during the course of a specific pre-k program may focus on curriculum-based questions or content standards. Not all preschools use the same curriculum or the same content standards. Different states often have early learning standards in curricular areas such as math or social studies. For example, if the pre-k class includes a component on the science of the seasons, the assessment may ask questions about winter, spring, summer and fall. Answers to these questions will help the preschool to better understand how the child interacts with the curriculum and if he needs help with learning certain concepts.

Social and Emotional Development

Assessment in the preschool years doesn't always focus on the academic side of things. In an effort to understand your child's social development, the school may look at her skills and knowledge of expected behaviors such as sharing or taking turns. For example, the assessor may approach your child, get down on her level and ask if she can have the doll that your child is currently playing with. Your child may eagerly share in a prosocial manner, pull the doll away or even act out instead of taking turns. Likewise, a preschool assessment of emotional development may include a teacher -- or other early childhood professional -- observing your child's behaviors and interactions. Preschoolers -- according to the child development experts at PBS Parents -- are able to use their words in order to express and control their emotions. During a pre-k assessment of emotional development, the assessor may ask your child to use feeling words such as "angry" or "happy" to describe different expressions on photos of faces.