ASR has been a leader in measuring kindergarten readiness throughout the country since 2001. Our partners value the rigor and flexibility we bring to assessments and evaluations and appreciate the valuable information gained from using our suite of kindergarten readiness tools: the Kindergarten Observation Form (KOF), its preschool version, the Pre-Kindergarten Observation Form (P-KOF), and our parent/caregiver survey, the Parent Information Form (PIF).
This map shows the various communities throughout the nation that have benefited from using our tools to measure and support the kindergarten readiness of their young children.
ASR's Kindergarten Observation Form
The Kindergarten Observation Form (KOF) was developed in 2001 to help fill an information gap that still exists in many areas today: the preparedness of children to smoothly transition into kindergarten. The tool was originally designed around the National Education Goals Panel’s five dimensions of kindergarten readiness, and measures key motor, self-regulation, social emotional, and academic skills.
Using a blend of observational and test-based assessment techniques, the KOF and its preschool version, the Pre-Kindergarten Observation Form (P-KOF), have 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 the Pre-K and Kindergarten Behavior Scales.
Five different longitudinal studies have shown that the KOF predicts 2nd and 3rd grade academic test scores. (For more information, please see the Psychometric Fact Sheet.) The tools have been used in over 18 counties in California, as well as in Arizona, North Carolina, Montana, Missouri, and Illinois.
ASR provides a variety of data reporting options, depending on your needs:
Classroom/School/District Report: This report includes a snapshot of child and family characteristics and readiness for individual classrooms, schools, or a district.
Interactive Dashboard: An interactive Tableau data dashboard which summarizes child and family characteristics and readiness and allows the user to view data by various characteristics, such as family income, race/ethnicity, zip code, or school.
Data Snapshot: A brief infographic or report summarizing school readiness data for a community or data on a special topic, such as resiliency, social emotional learning, or equity.
Comprehensive Report: Typically a 30-50 page report, this product contains the full results of sophisticated analyses, such as regression modeling to identify the child and family factors that best predict readiness and a cumulative indexing of factors to identity the “recipe” that matters most for readiness in the targeted community.
Executive Summary: In Word or PowerPoint form, a brief summary of the major study findings.
Why do a School Readiness Assessment?There are many potential reasons to assess kindergarten readiness. For entering kindergartners, the KOF is designed to be a summative assessment that describes the range of child, family, and community experiences that shape children’s preparedness to transition to kindergarten; the items are leveled at desired proficiencies for children as they enter kindergarten, and not end-of-year kindergarten standards. Preschool programs can use the P-KOF as a formative assessment to understand how prepared their students are for kindergarten entry. In sum, typical purposes for doing a kindergarten readiness assessment are to: To gather a snapshot of children’s readiness for kindergarten. To 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. To track trends in the school readiness levels in targeted communities over time. To build bridges between the ECE and K-12 community by providing a common framework and indicators for readiness.
What are the assessment tools used?ASR’s school readiness assessment model gathers a holistic 360-degree view of entering kindergartners. Data come from the following sources: Kindergarten Observation Form/Pre-Kindergarten Observation Form (KOF/P-KOF): A 19-item assessment that is completed by teachers using direct assessment and observational techniques. Three optional “formative” items assessing skills children acquire later in kindergarten can also be included if desired. The Parent Information Form (PIF) is a take-home survey completed by children’s parents that help us understand which family factors are related to children’s readiness. Secondary data are sometimes gathered from programs or preschools of interest.
What do kindergarten teachers say about the KOF?“I like that it focuses on the total child, not just academics.” “It gave me a head start in assessing students and knowing what their needs are.” “The Kindergarten Observation Form was very clear and user-friendly.” “The scoring guide really helped make sure the scoring was consistent.” “After a few years of doing this, I find the process quite smooth. I appreciate that this assessment is part of what I need to test my kiddos on anyway!”
How are teachers trained?Teachers are provided with a 60-90-minute training and a set of assessment materials. Trainings can be provided in person or virtually. At the trainings, teachers are informed about the purpose of the assessment and the KOF/P-KOF items and use the Scoring Guide and test scenarios to calibrate their understanding of key items.
How long does it take to complete?Teachers spend approximately 10 minutes per student to complete each assessment. Assessments can be spread over three to four weeks to avoid disruption to the classroom routine. Release time by a substitute teacher is also often provided by districts. Teachers are compensated for their time; stipends depend on the funding agency but average about $300 per teacher.
When are the assessments done?Kindergarten teachers conduct their assessments within three to four weeks after children enter kindergarten. Gathering data early in the year is important so the assessment is not influenced by kindergarten classroom instruction. Preschool assessments can take place in the fall and/or the spring. Some programs will administer the assessment at both time points to see how children progress over the course of the year
What does it cost?There is no fee to use the KOF or P-KOF. However, to ensure that the form is not misused (e.g., to keep children from entering kindergarten), it is not available in the public domain. ASR offers a tiered model of technical support based on partners’ capacity. For instance, fees can range from approximately $1,000 (training and licensing of the forms) to $10,000 (partner does data entry and ASR creates short reports), and up to $50,000 - $100,000 for full implementation support.