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Publication Title:

School Readiness: Moving Toward a Shared Definition, Standardized Assesment, and Unifying Language

Author(s):

Gwynne B. Goodlett, J.D., M.P.A.
Leigh Kale D'Amico, Ed.D.
Katy Sides, M.P.A.

Date: March 2014

Publication Type: Issue Briefs & Policy Reports

Policy Area: Building Stronger Early Childhood Systems

Page Count: 4

Publication Excerpt:

Early childhood education in South Carolina includes a diverse collection of families, early care and education programs, and schools where children have the opportunity to begin a lifelong love of learning. Early learning experiences impact later academic success. Yet, the early learning experiences that children encounter vary significantly. Early care and learning settings are fragmented in South Carolina as they have a variety of funding streams, mandates, and standards by which they are measured.

A statewide definition of school readiness that is connected to early learning and K-12 standards, and that early care and learning stakeholders agree upon, is essential to unifying the diverse early care and learning system. Legislation introduced in the 2013-2014 Session of the General Assembly provides a definition of school readiness and requires the adoption of a description of school readiness. To begin to put this conceptual definition and common language into action, several states are working on a specific type of school readiness measure, the kindergarten entry assessment. Kindergarten is the first point in which virtually all children in South Carolina are located in a single setting. Kindergarten entry assessments are used to look backward—as a tool to improve programs to promote school readiness and to look forward—to ensure that children continue to grow and learn once they enter school.

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