Newly-released data shows two consecutive years of increases in kindergarten readiness

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SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (WCIA) — The Illinois State Board of Education has released data from Fall 2019’s Kindergarten Individual Development Survey (KIDS), showing two straight years of increases in readiness.

According to the KIDS data, 29% of students began kindergarten in 2019 meeting readiness benchmarks in the following developmental areas: social-emotional, language and literacy and math. This follows 26% showing readiness in 2018 and 24% showing readiness in 2017.

“That shows they have the foundation for learning, that they’re entering kindergarten with the skills and knowledge that’s going to help them reach their third grade benchmarks,” ISBE’s Carisa Hurley explained. “So, we have 29% of children demonstrating readiness in all three developmental areas. That’s good, because that shows they’re on track for learning and I’m hopeful that they will meet their third grade benchmarks.”

KIDS measures those skills during the first 40 days of kindergarten through observation of how students interact with one another each day while playing, doing schoolwork, communicating and following directions.

ISBE studied 118,854 kindergarten students in 2019. According to the data:

  • 29 percent demonstrated readiness in all three developmental areas, up from 26 percent in 2018 and 24 percent in 2017;
  • 37 percent did not demonstrate readiness in any developmental area, down from 39 percent in 2018 and 42 percent in 2017. 

Data showed improvements in each of the three main developmental areas as well:

  • 56 percent demonstrated readiness in social and emotional development, up from 53 percent in 2018 and 49 percent in 2017.
  • 47 percent demonstrated readiness in language and literacy development, up from 46 percent in 2018 and 44 percent in 2017. 
  • 35 percent demonstrated readiness in math, up from 33 percent in 2018 and 30 percent in 2017. 

ISBE also studied readiness across various income groups, races, ethnicities, Individualized Education Programs (IEPs) and English Learners.

The data will help iSBE determine what kinds of early childhood programs to invest in, how schools can adjust curricula and how families can help students grow while at home.

The KIDS data will appear on the Illinois Report Card for the first time this fall.

Governor JB Pritzker’s FY 2020 budget added $50 million to the Early Childhood Block Grant to expand early childhood programming, with his FY 2021 budget maintaining funding at $543.7 million.

“As a former kindergarten teacher, I believe that it is important to do everything possible to support Illinois children in those critical early years,” State Superintendent Dr. Carmen I. Ayala said in a statement. “I want every child in the state to enter kindergarten with the cognitive skills to read, remember, pay attention, and solve problems, and the social-emotional skills to communicate, connect with others, display kindness, and cope with challenges. Governor Pritzker’s commitment to early childhood education has helped more and more children enter kindergartenwith the skills they need to be successful. While we only have three years of KIDS data so far, we are seeing incredibly promising results.”

To see the 2019 KIDS report, click here.

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