Kindergarten Entrance Assessments

Kindergarten Entrance Assessments

March 2014

Kindergarten Entrance Assessments (KEA) are used to evaluate whether or not a student is prepared for the demands of kindergarten. Assessments may include language and literacy development, cognition and general knowledge, motor skills and social and emotional development.
  • 26 states plus DC currently require KEAs, administered either by the state or locally.
  • Three states are in the process of developing entrance assessments.
  • North Dakota law allows districts to assess incoming kindergarten students, but the assessment is optional.
  • Wisconsin requires a literacy assessment only for all students in 4-year-old kindergarten through second grade.

Kindergarten Entrance Assessments
Alabama Not specified in statute
Alaska Statewide: Developmental profile for students entering Kindergarten or first grade
Arizona District level: Screenings in preschool, kindergarten, and grades 1-3 are required to identify pupils who have reading deficiencies
Arkansas Statewide: Uniform school entrance screening upon entry into kindergarten, developed by the State Board of Education
California Not specified in statute
Colorado Not specified in statute
Connecticut Statewide: Fall Kindergarten Entrance Inventory aligned with the Connecticut Preschool Curriculum Framework
Delaware Statewide: Kindergarten entrance assessment tool phased in between 2013 through 2015. Districts must administer the assessment within 30 days of the start of school.
District of Columbia Statewide: Entrance evaluations for all children entering kindergarten include reading (DIBELS) and mathematics.
Florida Statewide: Kindergarten screening based on Pre-K performance standards is required within the first 30 school days of each school year.
Georgia Not specified in statute
Hawaii Statewide: Hawaii State School Readiness Assessment (HSSRA) assessment measures five domains of kindergarten readiness: Approaches to Learning, Concepts and Skills (Literacy  and  Math), School Behaviors and Skills, Social Emotional Behaviors and Physical Well Being.

The department of education is required to assess students to determine initial placement in junior kindergarten or kindergarten, and movement between tiers and into grade one.
Idaho Not specified in statute
Illinois Not specified in statute
Indiana The State Department of Education must develop a plan to offer entrance tests to students in kindergarten, grade 1, and grade 2.
Iowa Districts must administer a kindergarten entrance screening test, selected by the department of education, to all kindergarteners by October 1. Districts must also administer the teaching strategies gold early childhood assessment to every prekindergarten or 4-year-old student enrolled in the district, preferably at the beginning and end of the preschool program. Finally, districts must assess reading levels or reading readiness of students each year in in kindergarten through third grade.
Kansas Not specified in statute
Kentucky Statewide: Each school district must administer the entry screener to each student entering kindergarten no earlier than fifteen (15) days prior to the start of the current academic year and no later than the thirtieth (30th) instructional day of the academic year.
Louisiana Local: Districts are required to administer an entrance assessment to every kindergarten student at the beginning of the school year. The state department of education is required to review and maintain a list of acceptable assessments.
Maine Local: Districts are required to screen incoming kindergarten students to identify exceptional students or those at risk of school failure.
Maryland Local: School districts are required to measure school readiness of entering kindergarteners via a  state department of education-approved kindergarten assessment system.

Statewide: Maryland Model for School Readiness (MMSR), an adaptation of the Work Sampling System (WSS)™ assessment, is used to assess the school readiness of every child entering kindergarten.
Massachusetts The board of early education and care is required to develop a kindergarten entrance assessment for preschool children.
Michigan In 2012 the Department of Education announced a plan for the review, selection, and integration of a kindergarten entry assessment. The state plans to launch a small-scale pilot testing of the kindergarten entry assessment in 2014.
Minnesota Local: Districts may administer a Kindergarten Readiness Assessment, which must be based on the department of education's Kindergarten Readiness Assessment at kindergarten entrance study.

Local: Any school readiness program serving children age three to kindergarten entry must assess student cognitive abilities when they enter and exit the program.
Mississippi Statewide: The Department of Education is required to select early literacy and numeracy screening assessment instruments to screen students in grades K-3.
Missouri Not specified in statute
Montana Not specified in statute
Nebraska Local: Each school board must approve and make available a recognized assessment procedure for determining if a child is capable of carrying the work of kindergarten.
Nevada S.B. 486 (2013) created a pre-kindergarten and kindergarten school readiness assessment pilot program
New Hampshire Not specified in statute
New Jersey Not specified in statute
New Mexico DOE-Approved: Students participating in kindergarten plus must be evaluated at the beginning of kindergarten plus, The State Department of Education must establish evaluation requirements.

Local: Schools with full-day kindergarten programs are required to conduct age-appropriate assessments.
New York Not specified in statute
North Carolina Local: Beginning with the 2014-2015 school year, all student entering kindergarten must be administered a developmental screening of early language, literacy, and math skills within 30 days of enrollment, and a kindergarten entry assessment within 60 days of enrollment. The KEA must address the five essential domains of school readiness: language and literacy development, cognition and general knowledge, approaches toward learning, physical well-being and motor development, and social and emotional development.
North Dakota Local (Optional): Districts may conduct entrance testing and formative assessments of incoming kindergarten students.
Ohio Statewide: Districts must administer the kindergarten entrance assessment provided by the state Department of Education no later than October 1.
Oklahoma BOE-Approved: Each kindergarten student must be assessed at the beginning of each school year using a screening instrument approved by the State Board of Education for the acquisition of reading skills including, but not limited to, phonological awareness, phonics, spelling, reading fluency, vocabulary, and comprehension.
Oregon Statewide: The Department of Education and Early Learning Council must develop and implement a kindergarten entrance assessment and provide training and assist school districts in implementing the assessment.
Pennsylvania Not specified in statute
Rhode Island Local: All school districts that provide elementary education are required to screen all children prior to, or upon, their first entry to school to determine their level of educational readiness. Screening must address literacy skills of reading, writing, speaking, listening, and mathematics.
South Carolina Not specified in statute
South Dakota Not specified in statute
Tennessee Local: Districts must develop a comprehensive developmental assessment program for kindergarten children, to be used in developing instructional programs.
Texas Statewide: Texas Essential Knowledge and Skills (TEKS) standards identify the skills and concepts that 5-year-olds are expected to know.
Utah Local: Districts must choose a kindergarten entrance assessment tool to assess every kindergarten student at the beginning of the year. The assessment must be based on research and data that determines a child's readiness to begin kindergarten, as determined by the school district or charter school.
Vermont Not specified in statute
Virginia Statewide: The Phonological Awareness Literacy Screening for Kindergarten (PALS-K) assessment is administered in the fall used for all students in kindergarten.
Washington Statewide: Washington kindergarten inventory of developing skills administered at the beginning of the kindergarten school year.
West Virginia Not specified in statute
Wisconsin Statewide: Districts must administer a reading readiness assessment, selected by the department of education, each year to all students in 4-year-old kindergarten through second grade
Wyoming Not specified in statute

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