I AM Ready for Kindergarten! OEL take the Readiness Rate Scores DOWN that fails Florida!
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Join us by sharing letters of support to the Governor from satisfied families who have proof that our programs and schools do prepare children for Kindergarten and the future. The FLKRS assessment doesn’t give the true picture.
The Broward movement has asked for the scores to be taken down. However, the damage is already done. So, the bigger picture is we need to have a seat at the table and retool how this process is being done. Here are the asks:
1- We would like the assessment of all the VPK children to be done in the school year in which they receive the funding. In this way, we ensure that every funded participant gets assessed and not just the percentage who go to cooperating grade schools (mostly public schools). The school board and every other institution assesses their students in the same school year as the instruction is given and NEVER after the historic Summer Slump.
**While we understand the assessment procedures are in rule, we have legislators on the Pre-K innovation committee who are ready to write a bill to amend the procedure as it reads now.
2- We would like the assessment to be aligned with the standards and aligned with the Quality initiative programs that OEL is spending tax payer dollars on.
3- We would like a serious seat at the table, as we are the experts in the field of Early Ed, which is a far different set of skills and development of skills sets than K-12.
There are a number of questions in play.
The first question we should be asking is why did everyone do poorly on this year’s FLKRS?
It was less that it was on a computer than it wasn’t comprehensive enough to give a global determination of readiness. Also, it was an unusual format and some children would have a hard time staying engaged. More importantly, It didn’t touch the socio-emotional or the physical domains of the standards at all. In prior years there were two instruments, one observational and one situational that captured the whole child.
Interestingly, OEL spent a lot of time, and probably money, to study the VPK Assessment and determine that it was valid and reliable, yet they do not consider the results to be a factor in determining the scores. The current FLKRS does not align with the Standards, which is our mandate as providers; so the results in this stand alone format can’t possible inform program effectiveness.
Children who attend VPK, the state-funded preschool program, in Broward, as well as across the State, are assessed on the readiness skills they have achieved at least two,and possibly three, times during the VPK year. All providers are responsible for complying with the administration and reporting the results of these assessments aftereach of the testing period Fall, Winter, and Spring. Fall and Spring testing is mandatory.
This measurement tool, the Florida VPK Assessment, was developed by the Florida Center for Reading Research, in collaboration with the Department of Education and is administrated by the Florida Office of Early Learning. It “ focuses on skills that are clear predictors of later school success and that have instructional value.” The skill areas and the methods used for the VPK Assessment were designed to align to the State’s Early Learning and Developmental Standards, which indicate what a child should know and be able to do at the end of the VPK year. VPK providers are trained on and required to use these standards as a basis for their instructional strategies in the VPK classroom.
When children who attended VPK in 2016-17 entered kindergarten in the Fall of 2017 were administered the FLKRS (Florida Kindergarten Readiness Screener), the number of children deemed ‘not ready’ on that testing instrument translated into dismally low readiness rates for providers across Broward. However, that data stands in direct contrast to the 2016-17 VPK Assessment results that not only measured growth, but development. IN 2016-17, in Broward County over 13,000 children were assessed. The Spring testing results in vital instructional areas such as Oral Language and Vocabulary, Phonological Awareness, Print Knowledge, and Mathematics indicate that an average of 91% of the children met or exceeded the measures tested. Children scoring in this range are considered by the assessment itself “likely to score READY on the Kindergarten Readiness Screener.”
Next we have to ask- WHY didn’t the FLKRS reflect this?
Would the fact that the children were tested using computers and that it was assumed that all of them were familiar not only with a standard PC but also with the use of a mouse have an impact on results?
Did the items on the FLKRS align to the Standards that guided the curricular goals of the VPK providers? Was the testing environment/administration of the FLKRS developmentally appropriate for children who had only recently transitioned into elementary school?
What was the impact of the age-old phenomenon – the Summer Slump?
Would it have been more accurate for children to be assessed within the same school year? Were kindergarten teachers aware of the high stakes of the FLKRS?
Until these questions can be answered, it is too premature for these scores to have been published.
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