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Kindergarten Readiness Data Released for 2017-18

Modest Improvement Registered; Gaps Revealed

BALTIMORE – Results from Maryland’s Kindergarten Readiness Assessment (KRA) reveals that nearly half of Maryland’s incoming students in the fall of 2017 were fully prepared for learning.

The data, released today in a report presented to the Maryland State Board of Education, offers a new baseline for assessing kindergarten readiness to help elevate preparation for all Maryland school children and close achievement gaps.

The report, Readiness Matters, Equity Matters!, found that 45 percent of incoming kindergartners were fully ready to begin learning, compared to 43 percent in 2016-17. Another 37 percent were “approaching” readiness, while 18 percent were “emerging.” The report provides insights into readiness and children’s experiences with various forms of pre-K programs.

“Excellence in early education is the key to success for all learners. High quality early education programs have been shown to build positive outcomes and habits that follow students into adulthood,” said Dr. Karen Salmon, State Superintendent of Schools. “Through monitoring progress, and working to correct gaps in achievement, we are ensuring all students have an equal chance to succeed in school and in life.”

MSDE worked with local educators to develop the KRA, and has since engaged educators, including kindergarten teachers, to strengthen the assessment process.

More than half of White and Asian-American children are entering kindergarten ready to learn — 57 and 55 percent, respectively. But the data reveal gaps in readiness: 39 percent of African-American students are fully prepared for kindergarten and 24 percent of Hispanic students are kindergarten-ready. In addition, students from low-income households start school at a disadvantage, and fewer kindergartners with identified disabilities demonstrate readiness.

The KRA measures the skills and behaviors that children should learn prior to entering kindergarten. The KRA is an age-appropriate, assessment tool that relies on standardized performance tasks, along with focused observations of children’s work and play, to best understand what each entering kindergartner knows and is able to do in four key areas: social foundations; physical well-being and motor development; language and literacy; and mathematics.

This assessment is part of Ready for Kindergarten (R4K), Maryland’s comprehensive early childhood assessment system. The KRA sets a baseline for tracking student progress in future years, aligned to Maryland’s rigorous PreK through 12th grade college and career-ready standards.

The new KRA data can be found here: