Measuring School Readiness

This blog post is the second of a four-part series about School Readiness.

How Do We Measure Readiness?

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At ASR, we have been measuring school readiness in communities throughout California, as well as in Arizona, North Carolina, and Illinois, since 2001. Informed by the National Education Goals Panel (1995) definition of readiness, ASR’s Kindergarten Observation Form (KOF) uses a blend of observational and direct assessment techniques to measure entering kindergartner’s motor, self-regulation, social expression, and early academic skills. The KOF has been validated against other evidence-based measures of child development such as the Woodcock Johnson III, Expressive One Word Vocabulary Test, Brigance K-1 Screens, and Ages and Stages Questionnaire, and longitudinal studies have shown that the KOF predicts 2nd and 3rd grade academic test scores.

In order to help communities understand and evaluate the factors contributing to readiness, our school readiness assessment model also involves a take-home survey completed by parents, the Parent Information Form (PIF), which collects information about the child’s background and early experiences. In addition, program participation data are sometimes linked to readiness data to evaluate the impact of partners’ efforts on children’s readiness for school.

Why Measure School Readiness?

Measuring readiness holistically allows communities to:

  • Gather a snapshot of children’s readiness as they enter school.
  • Understand and evaluate which local community, demographic and family factors contribute to children’s readiness, as well as the benefit of local preschools and other interventions.
  • Track trends in the school readiness levels in targeted communities over time. 
  • Build bridges between the ECE and K-12 community by providing a common framework and indicators for readiness.

In a future post we will look at examples of how communities have used school readiness data to turn the curve on school readiness.

Coming up in the SRA series: 1) How can we close readiness gaps and 2) How communities use school readiness data to turn the curve. For more information, read part 1 in the SRA blog series, "An Introduction to School Readiness."

Reference

National Education Goals Panel. (1995). 1995 National Education Goals Report. Washington, DC: Author. Retrieved from http://govinfo.library.unt.edu/negp/reports/goalsv1.pdf

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