The Mission of VKRP
The Virginia Kindergarten Readiness Program (VKRP) is an initiative focused on building a more comprehensive understanding of school readiness and success. As an assessment system, VKRP adds measures of mathematics, self-regulation, and social skills to complement Virginia's statewide assessment of literacy skills using the Phonological Awareness Literacy Screening (PALS, www.pals.virginia.edu). Data from the assessments are beneficial for a wide range of stakeholders including state policy makers, division and school leaders, educators, and families to support young students' learning during the kindergarten school year and beyond.
Our most recent data shows that 42% of students in participating divisions entered kindergarten unprepared in at least one of the critical learning domains: Literacy (PALS), mathematics, self-regulation, and social skills.
Addressing the Readiness Gap
Although some children who enter kindergarten unprepared will catch up with their peers, readiness gaps that are present when children start school often persist and widen over time. Children falling below the benchmark are struggling to master foundational skills such as identifying letters, connecting letters to letter sounds, counting, naming basic shapes, following a teacher's instructions, persisting on a new task, and sharing with classmates. These results were shared with the Virginia State Legislature, which then passed legislation that requires all kindergarten students to be assessed in the fall and spring by the end of the 2019-2020 school year and annually thereafter.
Using VKRP Readiness Data
The data gathered through VKRP will help stakeholders and educators meet the needs of Virginia's youngest learners. With VKRP, we can work to close the readiness gap earlier and support students in kindergarten and beyond.