School & District Management What the Research Says

Incoming Kindergartners Are Less Ready Than a Decade Ago

By Sarah D. Sparks — October 08, 2019 1 min read
  • Save to favorites
  • Print

Incoming kindergartners in 2017 started school with lower early-math and -reading skills than their peers nearly a decade earlier, though some achievement gaps closed somewhat.

In a new working paper released by the Annenberg Institute at Brown University, researchers analyzed the math and reading readiness of more than 2 million incoming kindergartners, based on their fall performance on an adaptive test by NWEA, formerly the Northwest Evaluation Association.

It showed students’ school readiness was flat in both subjects until 2014, then declined by about a quarter of a standard deviation in math and more than a tenth of a standard deviation in reading by 2017. Indicators for low-, middle-, and high-performing students all fell. The gap between low- and high-income students’ readiness closed during this time, but the readiness level of both groups fell.

Researchers also found incoming classes became more diverse over time, with the percentage of white students declining 10 percent in the reading sample and 8 percent in math. Gaps in readiness that favored girls over boys and white students over black and Hispanic students narrowed, but still remain significant.

A version of this article appeared in the October 09, 2019 edition of Education Week as Incoming Kindergartners Are Less Ready Than a Decade Ago


This content is provided by our sponsor. It is not written by and does not necessarily reflect the views of Education Week's editorial staff.
Classroom Technology Webinar
Academic Integrity in the Age of Artificial Intelligence
As AI writing tools rapidly evolve, learn how to set standards and expectations for your students on their use.
Content provided by Turnitin
Recruitment & Retention Live Online Discussion A Seat at the Table: Chronic Teacher Shortage: Where Do We Go From Here?  
Join Peter DeWitt, Michael Fullan, and guests for expert insights into finding solutions for the teacher shortage.
This content is provided by our sponsor. It is not written by and does not necessarily reflect the views of Education Week's editorial staff.
Reading & Literacy Webinar
The Science of Reading: Tools to Build Reading Proficiency
The Science of Reading has taken education by storm. Learn how Dr. Miranda Blount transformed literacy instruction in her state.
Content provided by hand2mind

EdWeek Top School Jobs

Teacher Jobs
Search over ten thousand teaching jobs nationwide — elementary, middle, high school and more.
View Jobs
Principal Jobs
Find hundreds of jobs for principals, assistant principals, and other school leadership roles.
View Jobs
Administrator Jobs
Over a thousand district-level jobs: superintendents, directors, more.
View Jobs
Support Staff Jobs
Search thousands of jobs, from paraprofessionals to counselors and more.
View Jobs

Read Next

School & District Management Divisive Politics Are Harming Schools, District Leaders Say
A new survey reveals how tough the politics are for some leaders, especially in the suburbs.
8 min read
Illustration of tug of war.
Illustration by Laura Baker/Education Week, SvetaZi, and iStock/Getty
School & District Management Leading a City School District Is Tough. A New Program Aims to Ease the Way
Its creators hope to drive down big-city superintendent turnover by preparing candidates for the stresses of leadership.
3 min read
Woman standing on a paper boat with a tsunami wave approaching.
iStock/Getty Images Plus
School & District Management 5 Tips for Switching From Snow Days to Remote Classes
Two district leaders say communication, flexibility, and adaptability are key to success.
4 min read
Close up of hands holding a smartphone and working at a laptop near a window showing a snowy day
School & District Management Will Schools Actually Ditch Snow Days for Virtual Learning? The Outlook Is Still Cloudy
More districts are substituting some remote learning, but snow days are still an option in many places.
5 min read
Buses parked covered with snow