The Tulsa region’s kindergarten assessments offer an important first-look at young students’ school readiness. The share of students demonstrating early literacy skills remained stable when compared to last year. Gains were higher for students from low-income households, up two percentage points to 47%.
Though measurement and accountability have improved since our inaugural report in 2014, there is more to do. All districts measure readiness, but a common definition of kindergarten readiness has not been established. Assessments and assessors vary from place to place as well. Some assessors are classroom teachers, and others are district testing staff. A common assessment administered consistently would give a more reliable signal of readiness.
Additionally, the definition of readiness has not adjusted to the state’s higher, nationally-aligned expectations. The lack of consistency could cause confusion over time, with over 60% of students demonstrating early literacy skills in kindergarten but only about half of those considered proficient just a few years later.
WHY IT MATTERS
Entering school ready to learn can improve one’s chance of reaching middle class status by age 40 by about 8%.
ACTION TOWARD CHANGE
Research is an important first step in determining how districts continue to refine their approach to supporting kindergarten readiness. ImpactTulsa’s review of national research shows the U.S. Department of Education identifies five domains that are important to school success.
physical well-being and motor development
social and emotional development
approaches to learning
language development—including early literacy
cognition and general knowledge
Research says supporting all areas of development starting as early as possible plays an important role in laying a solid foundation for future success. Parents, caregivers, and other adults in a child’s life, birth through age five, all contribute to school readiness. For a great start, kids need access to quality preschool, health care, nutrition, and physical activities. Whole-family supports are often needed as well. Studies show investing in mothers and family environments has lasting benefits on child development.
MAKING AN IMPACT
ImpactTulsa is currently conducting a Pre-K enrollment campaign to reach the estimated 3,000 children who do not take advantage of our region’s quality Pre-K programs.
Pre-K is the building block to make sure a child is kindergarten ready, ready to read in third grade, able to succeed in middle grade math and far more likely to graduate high school. Without Pre-K, a child’s chances of reaching each of these milestones significantly decreases.