Studies show that educational achievement gaps already exist at Kindergarten entry.  Children from low-income families are more likely to start school with limited language skills, health problems and social and emotional problems that interfere with learning.  The larger the gap at school entry, the harder it is to close.

Language proficiency is a key predictor of school success. Early literacy skills (size of vocabulary, recognizing letters, understanding letter and sound relationships) at kindergarten entry are good predictors of children's reading abilities throughout their educational careers. Language and literacy skills enable children to develop cognitive skills and knowledge and to interact effectively with peers and adults.


School Readiness Indicators Initiative

Too many children enter Kindergarten with physical, social, emotional and cognitive limitations that could have been minimized or eliminated through early attention to child and family needs.  Ongoing research confirms that children's readiness for school is multi-faceted, encompassing the whole range of physical, social, emotional and cognitive skills that children need to thrive.  Top-notch school readiness indicator systems at the state and local level are necessary to sustain current investments in the most effective programs for children and to make the case for increased investments to improve outcomes for young children and their families.


School Readiness Indicators: Making Progress for Young Children was a multi-state initiative that used child and well-being indicators to build a change agenda in states and local communities in order to improve school readiness and ensure early school success.  The task of participating states was to develop a set of child outcome and systems indicators for children from birth through the fourth-grade reading test, an important red flag for children most at-risk for poor long-term outcomes, such as dropping out of school, teen pregnancy and juvenile crime.


Objective 1: To create a set of measurable indicators related to and defining school readiness that can be tracked regularly over time at the state an local levels.


Objective 2: To have states and local governments adopt this indicators-based definition of school readiness, fill in gaps in data availability, track data over time and report findings to their citizens.


Objective 3: To stimulate policy, program and other actions to improve the ability of all children to read at grade level by the end of the third grade.


The school readiness indicators that were developed are comprehensive and practical.  Indicators that were tracked at the state level and in local communities in order to monitor the capacity of child and family programs to meet the variable needs that exist across communities.  Indicators reflect state investments in programs and policies for young children and families as well as child outcomes.  The Indicators are broad enough to present a picture of the whole child, including children health status, what children know and can do, children's mental and emotional health and children's economic well-being.  Indicators have been developed to fill the gap in knowledge between the child's status at birth and their status at school entry.


Click here to download the complete summary of The School Readiness Indicators Initiative.




© 2005, School Readiness Indicators Initiative
One Union Station Providence, RI 02903 401.351.9400 fax 401.351.1758
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The School Readiness Indicators Initiative is supported by the David and Lucile Packard Foundation, the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation and the Ford Foundation.
The 17-state initiative is managed by Rhode Island KIDS COUNT