Reduced Disparities in Kindergarten Readiness

A bright future often begins with success in school. Kindergarten marks the start of formal education. It is important that each child is developmentally ready to learn and participate in classroom activities. Success in kindergarten is linked with 3rd grade reading achievement which is regarded as an early indicator of future success. Moreover, these early experiences in learning, developing friendships, confidence and independence can have a life-long impact.

kindergarten-assessment-graphicAll children enter kindergarten with differing knowledge and abilities. Some children may have mastered the alphabet, but have difficulty with numbers or following direction. Simple differences like these are completely normal. However, early learners from disadvantaged or underserved backgrounds are behind their peers in kindergarten readiness. The Oregon Department of Education believes that the Oregon Kindergarten Assessment is essential to understanding, and ultimately closing, the divide for underserved or disadvantaged early learners.

In the Kindergarten Assessment, Social Skills is a combined index of skills in self-regulation and interpersonal skills; this is the first time social-emotional skills have been assessed statewide and happily we see no significant disparities in the baseline year.

However, in number recognition, letter names and letter sounds, early learners from underserved populations are behind their peers in Central Oregon and at the state level. These are minute-long, timed assessments and while some question the utility of this timed assessment, it is still important to work together to reduce the disparities discovered, no matter the tool.

*Underserved includes children who identify as African American, Hispanic, American Indian or Alaska Native, Pacific Islander, or Multi-Ethnic.

Data Source: Oregon Department of Education. “Statewide Kindergarten Assessment Results.” http://www.ode.state.or.us/gradelevel/pre_k/oka-results_state-district-school_20140131.xlsx.