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K-3 State Comparison.JPG
Pre-K to 3rd Grade

 CONTENTS

(links to source documents are in the postings below)

1. New! Early Grade Reading (K-5) - Early Childhood Longitudinal Study 
2. New!  Michigan: Mandatory Kindergarten Debate Resurfaces - Detroit News
3. New!  Kentucky Explores 3rd Grade Retention Option - Courier Journal
4. K-3 Quality: A 50 State Comparison - Education Commission of the States
5. Three Practices and Three Policies for Quality Pre-K - Indispensables for Quality Pre-K
6. Kindergarten to 3rd Grade Education - National Conference of State Legislatures
7. K-3 School Absences: Challenging Critical Assumptions - Madison Education Consortium
8. Kindergarten to Third Grade Policy Guide - Education Commission of the States
9. Transitions and Alignment Preschool to Kindergarten - Education Commission of the States
11. Strengthening the Kindergarten to Third Grade Continuum - National Conference of State Legislatures 

12. Initiatives From Preschool to Third Grade: A Policymakers Guide 2018Education Commission of the States

13. Analysis of State K-3 Reading Standards and Assessments - No Child Left Behind
Post #1

Findings From the Fifth-Grade Round of the Early Childhood Longitudinal Study

Kindergarten Class of 2010–11 (ECLS-K:2011)

February 2019 

Low-Income Student Reading Skills Start Behind and Stay Behind

The Early Childhood Longitudinal Study, Kindergarten Class of 2010–11 (ECLS-K:2011) is the third in a series of longitudinal studies of young children conducted by the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES), within the U.S. Department of Education’s Institute of Education Sciences (IES). The ECLS-K:2011 collected information about the early educational experiences of a nationally representative sample of children who were in kindergarten or who were of kindergarten age in ungraded classrooms or schools in the 2010–11 school year.

The ECLS-K:2011 provides information on students’ status at school entry, on their transition into school, and on their progression through the elementary grades. The data collection began in the 2010–11 school year, when the children in the sample were in kindergarten, and continued through the spring of 2016, when most of the children in the sample were in fifth grade. The longitudinal nature of the ECLS-K:2011 data enables researchers to study how a wide range of family, school, community, and individual factors are associated with educational, socioemotional, and physical development over time. Information was collected from the students, their parents and guardians, their teachers, and their school administrators. Information was also collected from their before- and after-school care providers in the kindergarten year.

This brief report focuses on information from the data collection conducted in the spring of 2016, when the majority of the ECLS-K:2011 students were in fifth grade. It is intended to provide a snapshot of the children in the ECLS-K:2011 cohort who were in kindergarten for the first time in the 2010–11 school year and in fifth grade 5 years later during the spring of 2016.

ECLS 2010 2011 Reading Scores in 5th Gra

Michigan: Mandatory Kindergarten Debate Resurfaces

February 18, 2019

Legislation has been introduced to make kindergarten mandatory in Michigan, with a lawmaker saying children need to be better prepared for the state's third-grade retention law that takes effect next school year.

An estimated 95 percent of Michigan children already attend kindergarten, dividing education experts on whether a law is necessary.

But several involved in the education of young children agree any push to mandate kindergarten should include more access or even a mandate for preschool.

Randy Speck, superintendent of the Madison School District in Oakland County, said mandatory kindergarten makes sense when it's coupled with an equal amount of investment in quality, early childhood education.

"Having more kids in kindergarten is great, but having more kids prepared for kindergarten is even greater," Speck said.

See the full story here.

Jennifer Chambers, The Detroit News

Published 11:30 p.m. ET Feb. 14, 2019 | 

Michigan Kindergarten Story 021819.PNG
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Kentucky Explores 3rd Grade Retention Plan

February 19, 2019

Kentucky could join more than a dozen other states that hold underachieving third-graders back, under legislation filed this month.

Supporters of the bill, including the Kentucky Department of Education, say schools must be held accountable for teaching kids how to read and do math.

Opponents, however, argue that the bill isn't backed by research.

Here's what you need to know:

House Bill 272, or the "Kids First Act," includes three main components: early intervention, third-grade retention and teacher preparation.

See full article here

Kentucky Grade Retention News Article 02
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K-3 Quality: A 50 State Comparison
Education Commission of the States - 2016
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K-3 State Comparison.JPG
From the Document: 
"In recent years, the pre-kindergarten (pre-K) component of the early childhood (birth to age eight) continuum has received significant policy attention. While the pre-K years are a critical time for early childhood development, there is a policy disconnect between the birth to age five and the kindergarten through third grade (K-3) components of this continuum. Children are at risk of losing the gains that they make in high-quality pre-K programs if the K-3 experience that follows does not continue at the same level of academic rigor and developmentally appropriate practice. In order to ensure that children meet key benchmarks, such as third grade reading proficiency, policymakers may want to consider focusing on improving quality not just in pre-K, but also in the K-3 years."
Indispensables for Quality Pre-K 
3 Practices and 3 Policies
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Indispensibles for Quality PreK.PNG

Top-level researchers and program leaders agree that high-quality teaching and learning in pre-K for 3- and 4-year olds requires these instructional practices and policies. 

 

Practice 1:  Engage in positive interactions with children and their families,  recognizing the strengths and diversity of their backgrounds.

Practice 2:  Use learning trajectories in subject areas and domains, supported by effective curricula, to help children meet goals in learning and development.

Practice 3:  Promote children’s social development and self-regulation in ways that reflect an understanding of the multiple biological and environmental factors that affect behavior.

Policy 1:  Allocate increased, predictable, and sustainable funding to establish the conditions necessary for high-quality teaching and learning.

Policy 2:  Provide educators with professional learning (pre-service and in-service) based at a minimum on the 3 Indispensable Practices and on in-service opportunities aligned with the definition of professional development in the Every Student Succeeds Act.

Policy 3:  Use high-quality data to promote continuous quality improvement and better continuity from ages 0–3 to pre-K and pre-K to grades K–3.

Kindergarten to 3rd Grade Education

National Conference of State Legislatures

There are several areas of K-3 education that policymakers can target (see list below). While employing these solutions can be effective, rarely are they effective in isolation. Instead, a systemic and comprehensive approach is suggested, one that looks at various elements of kindergarten through third grade as part of much bigger picture, taking into account their various interactions.
Full-Day Kindergarten
Attending full-day kindergarten has a significantly positive effect for students, when compared to their half-day counterparts. These results are especially true for Hispanic/Latino students and those with low literacy levels.
Student-Teacher Ratios
Significantly reducing class size (by 7-10 fewer students per class) has been demonstrated to improve student achievement, especially in the early grades and for students from disadvantaged backgrounds.
Third-Grade Reading Proficiency
By the end of third grade, students are reading to learn as opposed to learning to read, creating a significant milestone in the academic careers. State policymakers have been very active in creating legislation aimed to identify and support students not reading proficiently by the end of third grade. 
Social-Emotional Learning
Improving self-regulation, emotional intelligence among other mental and emotional processes helps students create long-term positive behaviors. Students who participated in social-emotional learning (SEL) curriculum demonstrated an 11 percent gain compared to students who did not receive SEL curriculum. 
Kindergarten Entry Assessments
Kindergarten entry assessments (KEAs) are assessments conducted within the first couple months of a student entering kindergarten. KEAs are designed to assess children's school readiness and developmental skills. KEAs can be especially helpful in determining dual language learners' (DLLs) native and English language abilities and help with classroom placement. 
Transitions from pre-K to K
Moving from preschool to kindergarten can be stressful for students and their parents. Effective transition models include preschool children visiting the kindergarten class, orientation activities during the summer before kindergarten entry, parents meeting with K teacher, preschool and K teachers/schools sharing data, among various other activities.
Family Engagement Practices
The early years of a child's education have been deemed crucial for building family-school connections. Children whose parents and families are engaged in and hold high expectations of their education tend to earn better grades, have higher graduations rates, and are more likely to enroll in post secondary education.
Early Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM Education)
Research has demonstrated that young children’s minds are very receptive to math and logic, and that early mathematics skills are the strongest predictor of future academic achievement. Developing math, along with other STEM skills in high-quality, early education environments couples the predictive power of learning STEM skills with the academic growth and trajectories that early education can provide.
NCSL K-3 Heading.JPG
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K-3 School Absences Challenging Critical Assumptions
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K-3 Attendance.PNG

"The general assumption is that increased attendance is tied to better student academic and social-emotional learning. “We present evidence (that)…contradicts this logic.

"First, if exposure to and engagement in classroom learning underlie the relationship between attendance and achievement, we would expect excused and unexcused absences to have similar associations with grades and test scores."

"Second, the impact of absences on achievement ought to be approximately additive, as the amount of instruction missed on the first day a child is absent should on average be about the same as the amount of instruction missed on the 10th or 20th day a child is absent. We find neither of these to be the case."

Excused and Unexcused Absences: Excused absences have little association with student performance in grades or test scores; unexcused absences, however, are negatively associated with achievement, but most of the association can be accounted for by demographics, health conditions, and prior student achievement. Unexcused absences are more a signal than a cause.

Kindergarten to Third Grade Policy Guide
Education Commission of the States
Post #8
K-3 Alignment Policy Aligment Education

Of the 2.5 million students who dropped out of high school in 2015, 1.6 million were firmly set on that trajectory when they were just 8 years old. What did those 8-year-old students have in common? They received the lowest reading scores on the third-grade literacy exam. A student’s ability to meet grade-level expectations in third grade plays a significant role in the likelihood of them graduating high school. A third-grade student who reads proficiently is four times more likely to graduate from high school than a third grader reading below grade level.

The experts identified more 25 specific policy levers that would improve the quality of K-3 education.They agreed on six key areas as essential for student success:

  • Funding – Strategic, blended, equitable

  • Quality Full-Day Kindergarten and Mandatory Attendance Age Requirements

  • Workforce Development: teachers and leaders

  • Alignment Across the Continuum: Governance and standards, resources, and program quality

  • Curriculum, Instruction, and Assessments

  • Accountability Metrics (not student based)

Initiatives from Pre-School to Third Grade

Education Commission of the States

Post #9
K-3 Policies Educaton Commission of the

The period between preschool and third grade is a tipping point in a child’s journey toward lifelong learning — from “learning to read” to “reading to learn.” If children do not have proficient reading skills by third grade, their ability to progress through school and meet grade-level expectations diminishes significantly.

While all areas of children’s learning and development are critical for school success, the predictive power of a child’s third-grade reading proficiency on high school graduation and dropout rates is startling. Consider:

1)  Children who are not reading proficiently by third grade are four times less likely to graduate from high school on time.

2)  If they live in poverty, they are 13 times less likely to graduate on time.  

3)  In 2016, they comprised more than half of all students (63%) who did not graduate on time. Pair that with the knowledge that about 30% of all fourth-graders and 50% of African-American and Hispanic fourth-graders nationwide are reading below grade-level. Over half are likely to drop out or will not graduate on time.

Research demonstrates that disparities in children’s learning are evident as early as nine months of age.

In most states, the programs that support children on their path to academic success from birth to third grade are disconnected — especially for low-income children who are most at-risk for school failure — in part, because the funding streams and governance that oversee these programs are themselves fragmented.

This primer is meant to serve as a reference for policymakers and their staffs on the most common requests that Education Commission of the States receives on vital P-3 issues. Though the infrastructure needed to support a comprehensive P-3 agenda also includes elements such as longitudinal data systems, professional development systems, family engagement strategies, leadership and equitable systems designed to promote children’s overall health and well-being, the primary elements policymakers inquire about include:

  • Preschool. Access to high-quality preschool programs for 3- and 4-year-olds.

  • Transitions. Strategies to support children in their transition to kindergarten.

  • Kindergarten through third grade. Quality teachers, curricula and developmentally appropriate practices.

  • Full-day kindergarten. Full-day kindergarten programs for 5-year-olds.

  • Third-grade reading and math. Innovative policies designed to identify and support children to meet third-grade reading and math goals.

  • High-quality programs. Characterized by exceptional educators and leaders who use ongoing data collection to inform instruction and practice.

  • Aligned standards, curricula and assessments. Ensuring state’s learning standards, curricula and assessments are aligned to support children in P-3. Funding.

  • Coordinating funding streams that support P-3 programs to maximize dollars and reduce inefficiencies.

  • Governance. Coordinating the range of P-3 programs, services, agencies and entities at the state level to ensure the delivery of seamless programs and services for children and families.

  • Workforce. Recruiting, preparing and supporting highly effective professionals who have the competencies needed to work in P-3.

  • Dual-language learners. Ensuring dual-language learners are prepared for school and do well once they enter public schools.

  • Special education. Leveraging early learning structures to support special education students in achieving academic and social success.

Post #10
Transitions and Alignment Preschool to Kindergarten
Education Commission of the States
PreK to K Transitions and Alignment 2018

A lot is at stake in ensuring a smooth transition between preschool and kindergarten. Researchers continue to find strong relationships between children’s cognitive and social competence before kindergarten and later academic success. In a study of several, large longitudinal data sets that tracked children’s development through ages 8, 10 and 14, students’ reading and math skills and their ability to focus at kindergarten entry were significant predictors of later academic achievement.

This shows that if a preschool program does not meet sufficiently high standards, its benefits may be short-lived. And if the public school system — especially in the early elementary grades — is not equipped to sustain and build on the benefits of high-quality, preschool programs, the gains children make in the early years may not translate into long-term success.

An inadequate transition from preschool to kindergarten can result in children experiencing high levels of stress, which can interfere with their academic performance and emotional adjustments.

Ineffective transitions at this juncture can also lead to poor social adjustment, which may have negative consequences later — including chronic absenteeism and failure to make the academic gains necessary to succeed by third grade and beyond.  When done well, an aligned and integrated approach that takes advantage of the potential of both preschool and the early elementary years — with a thoughtful transition for children and families — can reduce the likelihood that children fall behind early in life.

Based on research and work with states, Education Commission of the States has identified these two key elements that states can consider when creating a coordinated preschool-to-third grade system:

  • Effective transition programs and practices that help the child and family move smoothly and successfully from one learning setting to another.

  • Authentic alignment of the basic pedagogical components of early learning and kindergarten to create continuous learning and teaching experiences. This brief elaborates on these key elements and provides examples of state efforts and strategies for creating successful transitions.

Transition refers to the process of a child moving from one program or setting to another. When children make the transition from preschool to elementary school, they must adjust to new settings and situations — including new rules and expectations, new ways of learning, new relationships with peers and adults, and new physical surroundings. The earliest years are the cornerstone of effective P-20 systems and the foundation upon which subsequent learning is built. Yet there is a persistent gap in the transition between preschool to kindergarten.

In this paper, alignment refers to the continuous interrelated nature of education programs and practices in early learning settings and the early grades — an important component of a successful early learning experience for students. Alignment within a program may highlight the coherence or inter-connectedness between standards (what children are expected to know and do), curricula (what children are taught), instruction (how children are taught) and assessments (what and how children’s progress is measured).

Aligned experiences include all areas of learning (social, emotional, physical and cognitive) that are developmentally appropriate and matched to the individual abilities of the child. Intentional alignment of these interconnected pieces increases the consistency of children’s experiences across and within grades to create a continuum of learning that builds on the previous year.

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Strengthening the Kindergarten- to Third-Grade Continuum
National Conference of State Legislatures
Kindergarten to Third Grade State Legisl

There are several areas of K-3 education that policymakers can target (see list below). While employing these solutions can be effective, rarely are they effective in isolation. Instead, a systemic and comprehensive approach is suggested, one that looks at various elements of kindergarten through third grade as part of much bigger picture, taking into account their various interactions.

K-3 EDUCATION POLICY AREAS

Full-Day Kindergarten:  Attending full-day kindergarten has a significantly positive effect for students, when compared to their half-day counterparts. These results are especially true for Hispanic/Latino students and those with low literacy levels.

Student-Teacher Ratios:  Significantly reducing class size (by 7-10 fewer students per class) has been demonstrated to improve student achievement, especially in the early grades and for students from disadvantaged backgrounds.

Third-Grade Reading Proficiency:  By the end of third grade, students are reading to learn as opposed to learning to read, creating a significant milestone in the academic careers. State policymakers have been very active in creating legislation aimed to identify and support students not reading proficiently by the end of third grade. 

Social-Emotional Learning Improving self-regulation, emotional intelligence among other mental and emotional processes helps students create long-term positive behaviors. Students who participated in social-emotional learning (SEL) curriculum demonstrated an 11 percent gain compared to students who did not receive SEL curriculum. 

Kindergarten Entry Assessments:  Kindergarten entry assessments (KEAs) are assessments conducted within the first couple months of a student entering kindergarten. KEAs are designed to assess children's school readiness and developmental skills. KEAs can be especially helpful in determining dual language learners' (DLLs) native and English language abilities and help with classroom placement. 

Transitions from pre-K to K:  Moving from preschool to kindergarten can be stressful for students and their parents. Effective transition models include preschool children visiting the kindergarten class, orientation activities during the summer before kindergarten entry, parents meeting with K teacher, preschool and K teachers/schools sharing data, among various other activities.

Family Engagement Practices:  The early years of a child's education have been deemed crucial for building family-school connections. Children whose parents and families are engaged in and hold high expectations of their education tend to earn better grades, have higher graduations rates, and are more likely to enroll in post secondary education.

Early Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM Education):  Research has demonstrated that young children’s minds are very receptive to math and logic, and that early mathematics skills are the strongest predictor of future academic achievement. Developing math, along with other STEM skills in high-quality, early education environments couples the predictive power of learning STEM skills with the academic growth and trajectories that early education can provide.

 

State Legislation

There is considerable variation among states on K-3 policies. Much more on K-3 specific polices can be found on the K-3 State Comparison Database.

  • 15 states plus D.C. require full-day kindergarten.

  • 33 states plus D.C. require the administration of a kindergarten entry assessment (of which nine include a measure of social-emotional development).

  • 17 states plus D.C. require third grade retention for nonproficient readers (15 offer conditional promotion options).

  • Professional development and/or teacher preparation is required for K-3 educators in 38 states.

  • 23 states plus D.C. do not specify reclassification procedures for ELL students.

  • Kindergarten length-of-day requirements range from two to seven hours per day.

  • 31 states provide student-teacher ratio requirements, ranging from 1-to-15 to 1-to-33 for kindergarten and 1-to-17 to 1-to-32 for first through third grade.

 

Additional Resources

NCSL Resources

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ECCS PK-3 081319.JPG

 Initiatives From Preschool to Third Grade:

A Policymakers Guide 2018  

Education Commission of the States

“...(T)he programs that support children on their path to academic success from birth to third grade are disconnected — especially for low-income children who are most at-risk for school failure — in part, because the funding streams and governance that oversee these programs are themselves fragmented. The lack of coordination between education programs that serve children until age 5 and the K-12 education system is becoming apparent to education policymakers. States will need to employ strong leadership to set a vision for programs, transitions, governance and funding coordination to address gaps in early learning — setting children on a path toward third-grade success and ultimately, high school graduation

This primer is meant to serve as a reference for policymakers and their staffs on the most common requests that Education Commission of the States receives on vital P-3 issues. Though the infrastructure needed to support a comprehensive P-3 agenda also includes elements such as longitudinal data systems, professional development systems, family engagement strategies, leadership and equitable systems designed to promote children’s overall health and well-being, the primary elements policymakers inquire about include:

  • Preschool. Access to high-quality preschool programs for 3- and 4-year-olds.

  • Transitions. Strategies to support children in their transition to kindergarten.

  • Kindergarten through third grade. Quality teachers, curricula and developmentally appropriate practices.

  • Full-day kindergarten. Full-day kindergarten programs for 5-year-olds.

  • Third-grade reading and math. Innovative policies designed to identify and support children to meet third-grade reading and math goals.

  • High-quality programs. Characterized by exceptional educators and leaders who use ongoing data collection to inform instruction and practice.

  • Aligned standards, curricula and assessments. Ensuring state’s learning standards, curricula and assessments are aligned to support children in P-3.

  • Funding. Coordinating funding streams that support P-3 programs to maximize dollars and reduce inefficiencies.

  • Governance. Coordinating the range of P-3 programs, services, agencies and entities at the state level to ensure the delivery of seamless programs and services for children and families.

  • Workforce. Recruiting, preparing and supporting highly effective professionals who have the competencies needed to work in P-3.

  • Dual-language learners. Ensuring dual-language learners are prepared for school and do well once they enter public schools.

  • Special education. Leveraging early learning structures to support special education students in achieving academic and social success.

Analysis of State K-3 Reading Standards and Assessments

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Note:  This document is from 2005.  It is offered to provide some historical context and to understand the results from efforts to promote early reading. 

 

Five Essential Elements of Reading Instruction included in this assessment

1.Reading Comprehension

2.Vocabulary

3.Phonics

4.Phonemic Awareness

5.Fluency

Key Findings:

Comprehension and, to a lesser extent, vocabulary are better represented by sampled states K-3 reading standards than are the other three essential elements of reading instruction.

• Reading comprehension is the most represented of the essential elements in state K-3 reading content standards with an average of 57 standards per state, followed by vocabulary (19), phonics (16), fluency (6), and phonemic awareness (6).

• Most standards representing each essential element were judged to be placed at the appropriate grade by most of the states. A few states were found to have placed standards representing phonemic awareness and phonics at too high of a grade level.

• Most states have standards that adequately cover comprehension and phonics, while just over half of the states provide adequate coverage for vocabulary, phonemic awareness, and fluency. Comprehension standards were judged to cover most or all of the appropriate content in 90% of the states, followed by phonics (80%), vocabulary (60%), phonemic awareness (60%), and fluency (55%).

• Most states (75%) provide an appropriate level of detail for comprehension standards, followed by vocabulary (70%), phonics (60%), phonemic awareness (50%), and fluency (35%). In most cases, when standards were judged as not having an appropriate level of detail, it was because they were too broad.

• All of the 20 sampled states make comprehension clearly visible in their organization of reading standards. Almost all (18) make some of the other elements visible. Half make all five elements visible and they tend to do so at relatively high levels within their organizational hierarchy.

States K3 Reading Standards 2005 NCLB.PN
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