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Policy Analysis

Kindergarten Entry Assessments (KEAs) within a K-2 Assessment System


June 4, 2020
GG Weisenfeld, Katherine Hodges, Karin Garver

In most states kindergarten entry assessments (KEA) are employed primarily to inform parents and teachers. KEAs can serve as a key indicator of child development at formal school entry to inform education, but also could serve as a baseline for assessing progress in the early grades. However, their usefulness for this purpose is limited because KEAs tend to be separate assessments that are neither integrated nor aligned with other state-required K-2 assessments.

Recently, NIEER was asked by a state’s Deputy Commissioner if there are any states using a consistent tool across the early learning grades. This state has a comprehensive KEA that is required to be implemented within the first six weeks of the kindergarten year. The Governor’s office is seeking to have a more comprehensive approach to assessment across the early childhood band that goes beyond “academic” areas such as reading and math but also includes social emotional, physical, and soft skills.