The feds want to pull together case studies of how schools and districts are using kindergarten entry assessments, and they want the public’s help in telling them how to do it.
Through the Race to the Top early learning challenge grants and other grant programs, the department has been promoting the use of these assessments, which are intended to help kindergarten teachers evaluate the academic and social readiness of their students early in the school year. As I’ve written, experts worry about tying any kind of high-stakes decision, such as evaluating teachers or preschools, to such an assessment. “We have to take into account that there is no absolute standard for [children] to have achieved when they enter kindergarten,” said Samuel J. Meisels, the executive director of the Buffett Early Childhood Institute at the University of Nebraska in Omaha.
Those who support these assessments say that teachers should welcome valid tools that guide them in their work.
The notice from the Education Department, published May 15 in the Federal Register, indicates that the department is interested in case studies reflecting the experiences of 24 schools within 12 districts located in four states. The department is looking for comments on how the it might “enhance the quality, utility, and clarity of the information to be collected” and how it might minimize the burden of the information collection on respondents, among other factors.
Comments are due by July 14.
A version of this news article first appeared in the Early Years blog.