Kindergarten Entry Assessment- KEA - Early Learning - The Issues - BUILD Initiative
Strong Foundations For Our Youngest Children

Kindergarten Entry Assessment – KEA

A kindergarten entry assessment (KEA) process is an organized way to learn what children know and are able to do, including their disposition toward learning, when they enter kindergarten and/or at other times.

Providing a Snapshot on Development

Kindergarten entry assessments provide a snapshot on children’s development.

Kindergarten entry assessments provide a snapshot on children’s development. States are increasingly adopting a KEA as part of their comprehensive assessment systems.

At least 25 states now have laws mandating some type of kindergarten entry assessment. And, the number of states with such an assessment will only continue to rise.

The Race to the Top – Early Learning Challenge includes a requirement that states develop a kindergarten entry assessment.

States and school districts can develop kindergarten entry assessments for a variety of purposes, including:

  • Screening children to identify possible developmental concerns or participation in specific programs.
  • Providing important information to teachers to inform instruction and to engage parents.
  • Providing policymakers information on trends over time and differences by different groups to inform policy and funding decisions.

As with the goals, the assessment tools themselves also often vary with states using a variety of tools. Some are developed internally, and others are purchased as a packaged product.

Innovative Approaches to KEA

Nearly every BUILD Initiative state partner is in the process of developing or piloting a kindergarten entry assessment. Ohio has teamed with the state of Maryland to create a common approach to kindergarten entry assessment. And Washington state is now piloting its own kindergarten entry assessment, called WaKIDS.

BUILD is working with other states through our learning community to support individual and cross-state collaborations to develop common, promising approaches and tools.

North Carolina’s K-3 Formative Assessment Process Vision

Through BUILD's assistance, North Carolina received a $6.2 million grant from the U.S. Department of Education to support a 10-state consortium in the enhancement of NC's K-3 Formative Assessment. This video describes North Carolina's vision for this groundbreaking observation-based assessment that will be conducted on a rolling basis from kindergarten entry through third grade, creating a child profile to be used by teachers and families to inform teaching and learning.