Kindergarten Readiness Indicators
Historically, early childhood education systems have lacked a standard approach to measuring early math and literacy skills in pre-kindergarten classrooms. The Kindergarten Readiness Indicators (KRI) project helps early childhood providers address this critical information gap. Research underscores the importance of providing early math, language, and reading instruction in preschool, as reflected in Indiana’s Early Learning Foundations, the state’s early learning development framework for children three to five years of age. That is why in 2016 the Richard M. Fairbanks Foundation and Welborn Baptist Foundation partnered with NORC at the University of Chicago to develop the KRI. This brief assessment measures early literacy and numeracy skills for pre-K children. Pre-K providers are now assessing students across the state of Indiana who are participating in On My Way Pre-K-funded programs.
The Fairbanks Foundation also provided funding to Early Learning Indiana (ELI) to help pilot the KRI in Marion County, while Welborn Baptist Foundation provided funding to 4C to help pilot the test in Vanderburgh County. In total, the Fairbanks Foundation awarded $254,454 to fund the development of the KRI. NORC helped develop and support the virtual training and certification for pre-K providers. ELI provided assessors to accommodate the obstacles COVID-19 created to traditional in-person training and certification.
In 2019, the State of Indiana adopted the KRI to assess children who participate in the On My Way Pre-K program and collect aggregated data on kindergarten readiness. Results from the KRI, which will be administered in On My Way Pre-K classrooms for the first time in April 2021, will provide early childhood centers with insights into where their lessons are most effective and where students need more support.
“The KRI will be our first real temperature check in these essential foundational skills of early math and literacy,” said Maureen Weber, President and CEO of Early Learning Indiana. “We’re really hopeful that the KRI will give us a way of letting policymakers and others know the health of early childhood education in Indiana overall.”
In the 2022 school year, NORC worked with the Family and Social Services Administration (FSSA), Indiana’s state department that oversees Early Childhood Education, to develop and enhance the KRI’s training and certification features to further inform and provide access to critical literacy and math foundational skills for all pre-K providers.