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SCR-125 Kindergarten readiness assessment tool.(2015-2016)

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SCR125:v99#DOCUMENT


CALIFORNIA LEGISLATURE— 2015–2016 REGULAR SESSION

Senate Concurrent Resolution No. 125


Introduced by Senator Allen

March 31, 2016


Relative to kindergarten readiness assessment.


LEGISLATIVE COUNSEL'S DIGEST


SCR 125, as introduced, Allen. Kindergarten readiness assessment tool.
This measure would state that the Legislature will work towards the adoption of a statewide, developmentally appropriate kindergarten readiness assessment tool to assess the readiness of children entering transitional kindergarten and kindergarten.
Fiscal Committee: NO  

WHEREAS, Children are natural learners and begin learning the day they are born. Significant brain development occurs in the earliest years. In fact, the vast majority of brain development occurs by five years of age; and
WHEREAS, District, state, and community-level data on readiness gaps would help policymakers and community leaders to target and implement effective early learning programs, as well as reinforce ongoing efforts to establish a robust, accessible system of early identification and intervention for developmental delays; and
WHEREAS, Children entering kindergarten who have the physical and motor development, social and emotional skills, approaches to learning, language development, and cognitive development to be active and engaged learners are 10 times more likely to meet the expectations of California state standards by grade 3 than those who are less prepared when they start school. Children reading at grade-level at grade 3 are more likely to complete high school prepared for college, careers, and civic life; and
WHEREAS, Readiness assessments are a multidimensional measure of a child’s developing abilities and skills upon entering transitional kindergarten and kindergarten; and
WHEREAS, Every teacher, principal, and school administrator wants his or her young pupils to thrive as they move through their transitional kindergarten and kindergarten years and into the early elementary grades; and
WHEREAS, A kindergarten readiness assessment should not just measure pupil proficiency on preacademic skills, but should also measure the range of developmental domains, including language, problem solving, self regulation, interpersonal skills, fine and gross motor skills, and disposition towards learning; and
WHEREAS, School readiness assessments provide data that can be used to improve systems of support for pupils in the classroom, school, district, region, and state, as well as to ensure the instruction provided to pupils is the most appropriate based on their strengths and areas for growth; and
WHEREAS, The California Children and Families Commission (First 5 California) and First 5 county commissions have been committed to ensuring children are ready for kindergarten, including investing in kindergarten readiness assessments, for many years; and
WHEREAS, In measuring all of these developmental domains, an age-appropriate kindergarten readiness assessment tool aligned to California’s state standards would provide valuable information to parents, teachers, school administrators, and state policymakers about both the readiness of children and the readiness of early childhood systems and K-12 educational systems that prepare and support them; and
WHEREAS, Without the consistent, widespread use of a valid and reliable readiness assessment tool that measures a child’s learning and development holistically, the state currently has no meaningful way to gauge the diverse and changing needs of its youngest learners; and
WHEREAS, A kindergarten readiness assessment should not be used for high stakes purposes, such as district, school, or program accountability, to determine entry into school, or to determine a pupil’s educational path; and
WHEREAS, Over one-half of the states in the country collect kindergarten readiness information in a state-level data system, and federal leaders are increasingly seeking to invest in states that are gathering and use comprehensive data to build and drive their early childhood systems; and
WHEREAS, A statewide kindergarten readiness tool will ensure consistent assessment of readiness throughout the state and will provide critical data to guide planning and resource allocation; and
WHEREAS, Successful statewide implementation of a kindergarten readiness assessment tool will require local and state resources and support, and will require leadership to build commitment among local educational and early childhood system leaders and other key stakeholders across the state; and
WHEREAS, The Legislature must play a leadership role in establishing a uniform, statewide kindergarten readiness assessment tool that provides meaningful data so that early childhood system leaders, teachers, and policymakers can intervene strategically to promote the success of the next generation; now therefore, be it
Resolved by the Senate of the State of California, the Assembly thereof concurring, That the Legislature will work towards the adoption of a statewide kindergarten readiness assessment tool that is developmentally appropriate to assess the readiness of children entering transitional kindergarten and kindergarten and that helps to provide a system that better supports children’s individual and collective needs; and be it further
Resolved, That the Secretary of the Senate transmit copies of this resolution to the author for appropriate distribution.