State Pre-K Assessment Policies: Issues and Status


Preschool education is increasingly being recognized as an integral part of efforts to ensure that all children enter school ready to learn and as a way to close the achievement gaps that exist at the time children enter kindergarten. Such efforts are growing across the country. According to the most recent data, 54 different preschool initiatives in 40 states serve over one million children, almost double the number served eight years earlier. As these programs and efforts to monitor them have grown, a common focus is on documenting children’s learning outcomes. Assessing your children, however, presents particular challenges.

In this new Policy Information Report, authors Debra J. Ackerman and Richard J. Coley have put together a useful “primer” on state pre-K assessment policies. They describe the instruments that are used across the states and identify important aspects of their use. Just as important, the authors remind us of the particular challenges that are inherent in assessing young children’s learningand report on sound assessment practices that recognize these challenges.

It is our hope that this report will be useful to educational practitioners and policymakers as preschool initiatives expand across the country and the need to document their effectiveness increases. As these efforts to assess preschoolers’ learning outcomes also grow, it will be increasingly important to monitor this critical segment of our education pipeline.

Source: The Educational Testing Service

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