A study published in School Psychology investigates the importance of screening children for their readiness for kindergarten, and how effective this is at predicting outcomes in first grade.
Nineteen kindergarten teachers and 350 children from six schools in Missouri took part in the study. Teachers completed a kindergarten academic and behavior readiness screener at the beginning of the academic year. Melissa Stormont and colleagues then compared student scores from the screening tool to their performance on a math and reading achievement test, and to teacher ratings of their social and emotional skills 18 months later. The results showed that
- Children with poor academic readiness were more than 9 to 10 times more likely to have low reading scores at the end of their first grade year.
- Similarly, children who rated poor in behavior readiness were six times more likely to be rated as having displayed disruptive behavior and poor social skills by their first grade teachers.
The authors suggest that the screening tool could be used to screen for children low in readiness in order to provide supports and monitoring for early intervention.