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Half of incoming kindergarten students are not ready for school

Nearly 25,000 unprepared for school

FRANKFORT, Ky. (Jan. 21, 2015) – Gov. Steve Beshear announced today that only 50 percent of students who started kindergarten this school year were ready to learn and succeed. About 24,500 students entered kindergarten unprepared.

During the 2013-14 school year 49 percent of kindergarten students were prepared to begin school.

KDEThis is the second year that the Kindergarten Readiness Screener has been given statewide to all incoming kindergarten students. Teachers administered the BRIGANCE K Screener to 49,089 kindergarten students in all 173 school districts at the beginning of the 2014-15 school year. Students are asked their name and age, to recite the alphabet and count to 30, among other tasks.

“Performing at a certain level on the screener is not a requirement for entering kindergarten,” said Education Commissioner Terry Holliday. “Rather, it gives our teachers a tool, so they can meet children where they are instructionally and provides a way to determine when interventions may need to begin early to ensure students get on track and stay on track for success.”

The common kindergarten screener, as outlined in 704 KAR 5:070, provides teachers with key information early in the school year that they can use to guide instruction and close learning gaps before they have a chance to widen. The screener is aligned with both Kentucky’s school readiness definition and Kentucky’s Early Childhood Standards.

As part of the kindergarten screener, parents also were asked to fill out a survey about what type of setting the child was in the year before starting kindergarten, along with several other things. The questionnaire did not distinguish whether the program was a half-day or full-day program, or the duration a child spent in a particular setting.

Community Early Childhood Councils are working with local communities to help parents and programs understand what it means to be ready for kindergarten,” said Terry Tolan, executive director of the Kentucky Governor’s Office of Early Childhood (KYGOEC). “In just the last year, a number of United Way Born Learning Academies have started up across the state, the legislature has expanded state-run preschool to more children in need and we’ve continued working to strengthen the STARS rating system for public and private early care and education programs.”

Legislation is pending that would institute a new quality-based graduated early care and education program rating system for all licensed child care, certified family child-care homes, state-funded preschool and Head Start based on, but not limited to:

  • Classroom and Instructional Quality
  • Administrative and Leadership Practices
  • Staff Qualifications and Professional Development; and
  • Family and Community Engagement