The money will be used to create or improve tests that children entering kindergarten will take. The assessments are meant to determine pre-academic skills, emotional health and well being, and is expected to provide early guidance to teachers.
Maryland's consortium consists of Maryland, Connecticut, Indiana, Massachusetts, Michigan, Nevada and Ohio. The consortium intends to use the money to enhance a kindergarten entry assessment and additional formative assessments.
The North Carolina group consists of Arizona, Delaware, Iowa, Maine, North Dakota, Oregon, Rhode Island, Washington D.C. and South Carolina. The $6.1 million grant will be used to support the collaborative efforts of the states to develop, pilot and evaluate a new Kindergarten Entry Assessments (KEA), as well as to design technological supports and teacher training.
RIDE reports the resulting Rhode Island assessment tool will align with the recently adopted Rhode Island Early Learning and Developmental Standards and the Common Core State Standards.
Rhode Island was an early winner for Race to the Top Early Learning Challenge. The efforts under this grant align with the goal of developing a KEA that will continue to advance statewide efforts to help both teachers and parents with kindergarten readiness.
The report of more testing during a time where advocates, parents and teachers are questioning testing continues to draw concern. While this is good news for the states in more funding for education, advocates are concerned that too much focus is put on testing instead of teaching and learning.