Research Alliance: Early Childhood Education Research Alliance
Principal investigator: Katherine Shields
This study examined how many public schools nationwide used kindergarten entry assessments (KEAs), and for what purposes; the characteristics of public schools that used KEAs; and whether the use of KEAs was correlated with student assessment scores in reading and mathematics in spring of the kindergarten year.
Drawing on a nationally representative sample from the Early Childhood Longitudinal Study–Kindergarten Class of 2010–11 (ECLS–K:2011), the study examined responses to an ECLS–K:2011 administrator questionnaire that included a set of questions about schools’ uses of KEAs. The sample consisted of 9,370 kindergarten students attending 640 public schools. Schools that used KEAs were compared to schools that did not in terms of enrollment, student body demographics, and other characteristics. In addition, multilevel regression models were used to compare students’ kindergarten spring assessment scores in early reading and mathematics at schools that did and did not report KEA use, after controlling for fall assessment scores, student demographics, and school characteristics.
Overall, 73 percent of public schools offering kindergarten classes reported that they used KEAs. Among schools using KEAs, 93 percent stated that individualizing instruction was one purpose, and 80 percent cited multiple purposes. Schools’ reported use of KEAs did not have a statistically significant relationship with students’ early reading or mathematics achievement in spring of the kindergarten year after controlling for student and school characteristics. Results from this study offer contextual information to state-level administrators as they select, develop, and implement KEAs. Future research could examine relationships between the nature and quality of KEA implementation and student outcomes.