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Rhode Island to participate in multi-state consortium to develop kindergarten entry assessment

Statewide kindergarten entry assessment will provide information about children’s learning and development

Providence, RI -- The U.S. Department of Education has announced the award of more than $15.1 million in Enhanced Assessment Grants (EAGs) to develop or enhance Kindergarten Entry Assessments (KEA). 

“A child who’s ready for kindergarten has a strong start toward success in school and life,” U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan said as the grants were announced.   Rhode Island joined a consortium of states lead by North Carolina and including Arizona, Delaware, Iowa, Maine, North Dakota, Oregon, Washington D.C. and South Carolina in applying for the grant.  The grant awarded to the consortium, more than $6.1 million, will be used to support the collaborative efforts of the states to develop, pilot, and evaluate a new KEA, as well as to design technological supports and teacher training.

The consortium partners will work together to plan for, develop, and pilot a comprehensive assessment tool to inform teachers and administrators of the status of incoming kindergarten students.  Their work will be informed by national experts, as well as stakeholders throughout the state of Rhode Island.     

The resulting Rhode Island assessment tool will align with the recently adopted Rhode Island Early Learning and Development Standards and the Common Core State Standards.  The efforts under this grant align with Rhode Island’s Race to the Top-Early Learning Challenge goal of developing a KEA that will further advance statewide efforts to help parents and teachers understand what children know and are able to do when they enter kindergarten. It also aligns with the Rhode Island Early Learning Council’s strategic plan, completed in December of 2012.

The State of Rhode Island has been leading the way on educational initiatives that prepare students for optimum learning.  This newest grant reinforces Rhode Island’s leadership in promoting the best possible early learning and development outcomes for young children and will help inform future efforts to support the early childhood workforce who are caring for and educating young children.  

“We are thrilled for this opportunity to collaborate with early childhood education leaders from across the country on this important work,” commented Education Commissioner Deborah A. Gist , “We know that the early years of a child’s education are so crucial.  The development and implementation of this statewide KEA will guide practice and policy and inform Rhode Island teachers and families about children’s strengths and about areas for growth, as well as help teachers understand progress across groups of children.”

The consortium partners will have their launch meeting in November 2013.  The consortium will begin piloting assessment items during the 2014-2015 academic year, with a full assessment pilot scheduled for September, 2015.  Statewide field testing of the assessment is planned for September, 2016.