WHAT THE DATA SAYS
In the Tulsa region, over half of kindergarten students demonstrate age-appropriate literacy skills and arrive on-track ready to learn to read during the first few months of school. As in our last report, data continue to show achievement gaps by income and race/ethnicity. Less than half of students of color and students from low-income households entering kindergarten have on-grade literacy skills.
A bright spot in the data shows students who enroll in pre-K outperform those who do not. Forty-six percent of low-income kindergartners who completed pre-K were reading-ready compared with 41% of those who did not. Similarly, non-economically disadvantaged students who attended pre-K outperformed peers who did not attend (73 to 70%).
WHY IT MATTERS
Studies show that 90% of brain development occurs by age 5. Both academic and formative experiences influence and shape brain development in the early years. Understanding how entering kindergarten students perform in literacy skill development is important for identifying appropriate interventions. A typical low-income child recognizes nine alphabet letters by age 5 compared to 22 letters by a middle-class child iii. Addressing achievement gaps in these formative years facilitates success throughout the academic pipeline.
HOW TO DRIVE CHANGE
National research shows that students who attend pre-K are more reading ready than peers who do not iv. This report shows similar findings. Tulsa is a nationally recognized leader in high-quality early childhood education. Enrolling students in research-based 3- and 4-year old programs is an important lever for increasing kindergarten readiness.
A challenge ImpactTulsa discovered when gathering data on kindergarten readiness is the lack of assessment uniformity. There is no single inventory used within the region to assess academic, socioemotional, developmental, and physical domains for incoming students. Collecting universal reliable data is critical.