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State kindergarten assessment shows results remain stable

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Woodburn scored average in math and approaches to learning, but lower than the state numbers in letter recognition.

INDEPENDENT FILE PHOTO - Rosa Floyd, a kindergarten teacher at Nellie Muir Elementary School, reads to her class in this file photo.The Oregon Department of Education released results Thursday from the fourth annual Kindergarten Assessment (KA).

The assessment is given each fall to entering kindergartners and provides a snapshot of students' foundational skills in three core areas of learning and development: early literacy, early math and approaches to learning. Overall, the results of the KA have remained stable over the last few years.

In Woodburn, incoming kindergartners scored relatively well in approaches to learning, averaging a 3.7 out of 5 rating. Math skills proved to be more average, with a 7.4 rating out of 16. Letter recognition, however, for both English and Spanish, was much lower in Woodburn, than the state numbers, averaging a 4.6 rating out of 26.

While the stability in math and literacy results for Oregon's young learners is encouraging, the data also highlights that there are still resource gaps in the state for some children to access the kinds of early learning experiences that support them entering school with the skills they need to succeed.

"At Early Learning, we continue to focus our work on closing gaps in opportunity and access for children and families that our system consistently and history have not served well," said David Mandell, acting early learning systems director, in a press release. "The Kindergarten Assessment helps us determine where to direct funds to reach those children. For example, in Marion and Polk counties, the Early Learning Hub uses the KA data to identify elementary schools that would most benefit from the Kindergarten Partnership Innovation grant program." The Kindergarten Partnership Innovation Program focuses on helping children make successful transitions into kindergarten.

"This is a snapshot of the incoming kindergarten class so that families, schools, communities and state-level policy makers can see opportunity gaps that may exist in our early learning system and direct investment where it is needed," said Deputy State Superintendent Salam Noor in the press release. "The sooner we can address these gaps, the better we can prepare students for their future success."

The Kindergarten Assessment focuses on the foundational knowledge and skills that are strongly linked to third-grade reading and future academic success. The self-regulation and interpersonal skills are measured through a survey based on teacher observation of the student during regular classroom activities and routines.

This year the assessment was delivered in the fall and data is made available as soon as it is entered. Teachers and administrators are able to access and utilize it as they teach students throughout the school year.

Beginning in the 2017-18 school year, there will be expansion of the language supports and designated support will be available to all students for the early literacy and math portions of the assessment.