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Kindergarten Students Could Soon Be Screened For School Readiness

The Kentucky Department of Education (KDE) has contracted with a private company to implement a kindergarten screener program, but the state still needs to approve the regulatory to require all public schools to screen incoming students.If approved this summer, the screening would help teachers determine how prepared students are before entering school by assessing their skills on a group or individual basis. KDE anticipates all public schools would be required to screen their kindergarten students beginning the 2013-2014 school year and the state is currently asking for districts to volunteer to pilot the screener next year.

Teachers will be able to use information gathered in the screener, which tests basic skills, to tailor instruction for students, said KDE spokeswoman Lisa Gross. “If a child has trouble distinguishing different shapes or different colors, or is having difficulty writing numbers or letters, then the teacher can focus in on that for that particular child," she said. Kentucky will not require the over 50,000 children entering kindergarten each year to pass the screener to begin school, she said. Currently any child that is 5-years-old by October 1 can enter kindergarten in the Commonwealth. The assessment may be used develop education policies in the future, mainly at the district level, said Gross. KDE has contracted with a private company, Curriculum Associates, to implement its kindergarten screener program. The screener will come at no cost to districts, but for the state, implementation will be $8.95 per student, then $3.95 in future years according to KDE.