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School Readiness Indicators: Where Does Assessment Fit? Workshop Presentation at NAEYC Annual Conference November 10, 2004 Charles Bruner Director Child.

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Presentation on theme: "School Readiness Indicators: Where Does Assessment Fit? Workshop Presentation at NAEYC Annual Conference November 10, 2004 Charles Bruner Director Child."— Presentation transcript:

1 School Readiness Indicators: Where Does Assessment Fit? Workshop Presentation at NAEYC Annual Conference November 10, 2004 Charles Bruner Director Child and Family Policy Center and SECPTAN

2 The Why – Kindergarten Assessments: Reasons for Measuring “What Children Know and Can Do at School Entry”

3 1st National Education Goal still needs to be realized Need to answer policy maker questions on status of reaching that goal Need to assess how policies and strategies we put into place are working Federal and state actions moving in direction of establishing measures and standards (need to do it in an informed way) School readiness indicators initiative without indicator of child’s school readiness is incomplete

4 The What – Uses of a Kindergarten/ School Readiness Assessment

5 Support LearningSupport Learning Identify Special NeedsIdentify Special Needs Evaluate ProgramsEvaluate Programs Track Trends, Build Awareness, and Support Policy DevelopmentTrack Trends, Build Awareness, and Support Policy Development Allocate ResourcesAllocate Resources –target areas of need –finance effective strategies Hold Actions AccountableHold Actions Accountable –incentives/sanctions and teacher/school/district accountability –not make decisions on child’s kindergarten entry readiness

6 Show the level of “school readiness” in the state (districts, schools) and raise public awareness on the need for strategies to improve it Track the progress made in the state (districts, schools) over time in achieving school readiness Determine for what groups of children “school readiness” represents an issue that requires special attention Uses of Kindergarten Assessment for Awareness and Policy Development

7 What We Know About Children’s School Readiness Multidimensional Dimensions interact Serious gaps exist in children’s school readiness that need to be addressed Children who start behind tend to stay behind Only beginning to develop measures that can describe the school readiness of kindergarten children

8 Serious Gaps Exist ECLS-K data and other data show we haven’t achieved 1st National Educational Goal and a “readiness gap” exists by: Gender Geography Language Race Socio-Economic Status [Child Trends reports and Economic Policy Institute’s Inequality at the Starting Gate]

9 School Readiness Multi-Dimensional and Dimensions Interact Physical well-being and motor development Social and emotional development Approaches to learning Language development Cognition and general knowledge

10 National Status of Children: ECLS-K Data and Percent of Children Lagging on One or More Dimensions 13.2% 7.6% 15.5% 8.1% 5.0% 6.4% 5.0% Source: Child Trends analysis of ECLS-K, base year public-use data for 1998-1999 Cognitive Health Social and Emotional 044.2% 135.1% 215.7% 35.0%

11 Not Either/Or but Both/And Not Fuzzy and Unmeasurable, but Part of Accountability/Continuous Improvement System Social/Emotional vs. Cognitive Development

12 Beyond the Fuzzy/Academic Language Knowing a lot of words Talking in sentences Knowing sounds Learning alphabet and numbers Language and Literacy/Cognition Social and Emotional/Approaches to Learning Paying attention to teacher Working together in groups Not getting too frustrated doing new tasks

13 Teachers/Employers Value Social and Emotional Skills Surveys of early elementary teachers rate social and emotional developmental challenges as biggest barriers to teaching Employers consistently state that approaches to learning/”soft skills” (social and emotional factors) more important than content knowledge for most jobs

14 Challenge/Opportunity to States: Federal and State Actions Moving in Direction of Establishing Measures and Standards for Early Learning Head StartKindergartenThird Grade National Reporting Standards (NRS) No Child Left Behind High Stakes Accountability ?

15 The How – Two Approaches to Assessing Children’s School Readiness

16 Reading/Language Literacy Tool: DIBELS, etc. validated instrument on a student population basis capable of broad-based implementation and single measure interpretation Work Sampling/Multidimensional Approach (Maryland, Vermont, Minnesota, Missouri) involves observation in natural settings, which are needed to fairly assess multiple dimensions is holistic and can be used as a teaching aid

17 Issues in Kindergarten Assessment Development Most important distinctions likely to be cross-population ones, including geography Must be careful to guard against misuse Alignment with standards important Politics to date suggest proactive approach that includes social and emotional with language and cognitive elements

18 Focus on Geography Poor Neighborhoods: Rich in Young Children 10.8 million children 4.1 million children 2.4 million children 1.7 million children Very Young Children (0-4) as Percentage of Population by Child-Raising Vulnerability

19 Focus on Geography Starting Behind: Staying Behind Children from Des Moines Making Connections Areas and Des Moines School District: Mean Kindergarten Assessment Scores and Mean Third Grade Composite Scores

20 Place matters and issues of place must be addressed Color blind approaches (bringing credentialed White, Non-Hispanic teachers in from suburbs to teach preschools) won’t build community and can do harm Place-based early childhood strategies (involving staff and career development for people in neighborhood) can improve school readiness, while building community and economic opportunity Birth to five (and beyond) focus is essential (preschool not a silver bullet for success) Focus on Geography: Implications for Policy and Practice

21 SECPTAN SECPTAN State Early Childhood Policy Technical Assistance Network Resources and Publications Include: Measuring Children’s School Readiness: Options for Developing State Baselines and Benchmarks Beyond the Usual Suspects: Developing New Allies to Invest in School Readiness Child Welfare and School Readiness: Making the Link for Vulnerable Children Financing School Readiness Strategies: An Annotated Bibliography Health and and School Readiness: The Health Community’s Role in Supporting Child development On the Path to School Readiness: Key Questions to Consider Before Establishing Universal Pre-Kindergarten Seven Things Policy Makers Need to Know about School Readiness Up and Running: Compendium of Multi-Site Early Childhood Initiatives c/o Child and Family Policy Center 218 Sixth Avenue, Suite 1021 Des Moines, IA 50309-4006

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