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#6 K-Power - Kindergarten Assessment

All Schools Should:

Assess for developmental status AFTER kindergarten entry



Development screening “includes activities to identify children who may need further evaluation in order to determine the existence of a delay in development or a particular disability.”[i]  It provides a snapshot of a child’s development.[ii]


“A term sometimes used loosely to refer to any type of appraisal of young children. In a narrower sense, assessment refers to information from multiple indicators and sources of evidence that is organized and interpreted and then evaluated to make an appraisal.”[iii]

Developmental status

A child’s developmental status should illustrate where the child is developmentally in each of the five domains of early childhood – cognitive, social-emotional, motor skills, language/literacy, and approaches to learning


Why wait until after kindergarten entry?

Children entering kindergarten come from a wide variety of early childhood experiences, typically of different dosage and level of quality.  Additionally, they have linguistic, cultural, and family contexts to consider.  Waiting until after kindergarten entry to conduct developmental screening gives children time to adjust to their new environment. It also give kindergarten teachers the time to understand the context of the child.


The National Research Council[iv] identified a number of risks in early childhood assessment, including not taking into account how the child’s background has shaped his/her development and learning, labeling children as “failures” , potentially denying children entry into kindergarten programs, and putting expectations on children to be ready rather than schools.

By waiting until children are already in kindergarten, teachers will have time to gain a fuller picture of the child and his/her strengths and needs.

Resources [v]

Early Childhood Technical Assistance Center (ECTA). (n.d.). Early identification: Screening, evaluation, and assessment. Retrieved from http://ectacenter.org/topics/earlyid/screeneval.asp

Education Commission of the States.  (2013). Kindergarten readiness assessment. Denver, CO: Author. Retrieved from http://ecs.force.com/mbdata/mbquestU?SID=a0i70000004J3cq&rep=Kq07&Q=Q3201

Meisels, S.J.  (2006). Accountability in early childhood: No easy answers (Occasional Paper No. 6). Chicago: Erikson Institute Herr Research Center. Retrieved from http://www.isbe.state.il.us/earlychi/pdf/meisels_accountability.pdf

National Research Council. (2008). Early childhood assessment: Why, what, and how. Committee on Developmental Outcomes and Assessments for Young Children, C.E. Snow and S.B. Van Hemel, Editors. Board on Children, Youth, and Families, Board on Testing and Assessment, Division of Behavioral and Social Sciences and Education. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press.

Office of Head Start. (2013). What is the difference between screening and assessment? Early Head Start tip sheet No. 6. Washington, DC: Office of Head Start. Retrieved from http://eclkc.ohs.acf.hhs.gov/hslc/tta-system/health/Health/Health%20and%20Wellness/Health%20and%20Wellness%20Children%20%28ages%200-5%29/What%20is%20the%20Difference%20between%20Screening%20and%20Assessment.htm

Snow, K. (2011). Developing kindergarten readiness and other large-scale assessment systems: Necessary considerations in the assessment of youth children.  Washington, DC: National Association for the Education of Young Children. Retrieved from http://www.naeyc.org/resources/research/kreadinessassessment

[i] ECTA, n.d.

[ii] Office of Head Start, 2013

[iii]  National Research Council, 2008

[iv] National Research Council, 2008