MDE releases kindergarten readiness data

From Press & Staff Reports

The fall 2016 results of Mississippi’s statewide assessment of kindergarten readiness show that students who attended public or private pre-K programs were more likely to start school prepared to learn than students who did not.

The Kindergarten Readiness Assessment evaluates skills such as the ability to recognize letters and match letters to their sounds and a student’s recognition that print flows from left to right.

Statewide, the average score on the 2016 Kindergarten Readiness Assessment was 502. The fall target score to demonstrate kindergarten readiness is 530. In the fall of 2016, the average score among the approximately 10,000 students who attended pre-K programs was 539.

The scale score average in the Webster County School District was 479. By school, the average scale score was 483 for 56 kindergarten students at East Webster Elementary and 477 for 89 kindergarten students at Eupora Elementary.

Close to 37,000 kindergartners from 144 districts throughout the state took Mississippi’s Kindergarten Readiness Assessment during the first month of the 2016-17 school year. Following the trend from the previous two years, close to two-thirds (63.6 percent) of kindergarteners scored below the target score that indicates kindergarten readiness. However, the percentage of students scoring kindergarten-ready increased slightly since the first year the test was administered, rising from 34.6 percent in 2014 to 36.4 percent in 2016.

The Mississippi Department of Education started collecting information in 2015 about kindergarteners’ prior year experience and pairing it with the Kindergarten Readiness Assessment results.

“Once again, these results provide compelling evidence of the impact of high-quality early childhood education,” said Dr. Carey Wright, state superintendent of education. “High-quality early childhood education gives students a strong start to school and has a powerful effect on academic achievement throughout a child’s education.”

Research from a four-year study show that 84 percent of students at the beginning of kindergarten with a score of 530 or above on the STAR Early Literacy Kindergarten Readiness Assessment are on track to become proficient readers by the end of third grade.