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School Readiness Plans and Assessment

Ready Child, Ready School

School readiness describes the status and ongoing progress a child makes within the domains of physical well-being and motor development, social and emotional development, language and comprehension development, and cognition and general knowledge. By monitoring each child’s progress across multiple domains, teachers, parents, schools, and caregivers can provide needed support to ensure each child’s success in school.

About the School Readiness Initiative

Senate Bill 08-212, Colorado’s Achievement Plan for Kids (CAP4K), passed in 2008 with the goal of aligning Colorado’s preschool through postsecondary education system. The act included provisions related to school readiness for both the State Board of Education and local education providers.

State Board of Education: The State Board of Education is required to define school readiness, which was accomplished in 2008. The State Board is also required to adopt one or more assessments aligned with the definition of school readiness.

Local Education Providers: Beginning in the fall of 2013, CAP4K requires local education providers to ensure all children in publicly-funded preschool or kindergarten receive an individual school readiness plan. Also, local education providers must administer the school readiness assessment to each student in kindergarten. To enable the state to identify more options for the school readiness assessment menu, CDE is advising districts to phase-in the school readiness provision of CAP4K by the 2015-16 school year.

School Readiness Assessment Menu

CAP4K requires that all students in a publicly funded kindergarten be assessed using as state approved school readiness assessment. The purpose of school readiness assessment is to inform the development of an individual school readiness plan in order to provide a responsive learning environment for each child. Information gathered from school readiness assessments is to be used for supportive and instructional purposes and cannot be used to deny a student admission or progression to kindergarten or first grade.

In December 2012, the State Board of Education voted to offer districts a menu of school readiness assessments. Beginning in 2010, CDE engaged a school readiness assessment committee with early childhood educators and experts from across Colorado to advise the department on implementation of the school readiness initiative. The committee assisted in the review of assessments following the criteria established in CAP4K. To review the rubric, please read the Request for Information RFI School Readiness Assessment 2014 2

In 2012, the State Board approved Teaching Strategies GOLD as the first assessment tool for the menu. At their October 2015 meeting, the State Board voted to add three additional assessments to the menu: Riverside Early Assessments of Learning (REAL), Desired Results Developmental Profile (DRDP-K 2015), and Teaching Strategies GOLD Survey. To read a summary of the reviewed assessments, please click here.

CAP4K does not provide funding for school readiness assessments. Colorado’s Race to the Top Early Learning Challenge Fund grant will cover the initial cost of school readiness assessment subscriptions. Districts can apply for funding for the 2015-16 school year in February, 2015.

Flexibility with Implementation of the School Readiness Initiative

Over the past two years, CDE has been guiding districts to implement school readiness provisions of CAP4K in either the 2013-14 and 2014-15 school years with full implementation scheduled for the 2015-16 school year. In response to requests from district leaders and kindergarten teachers, CDE has determined that there are options to increase local flexibility for implementation of school readiness assessments. As districts implement school readiness assessments for the 2015-2016 school year, districts may:

  1. Use the full school readiness assessment system according to the publisher’s guidelines.
  2. Use a reduced item version of the school readiness assessment system assessing only the domains required in legislation (Social Emotional, Physical, Coognitive, Language, Literacy, Math).
  3. Use the full school readiness assessment system for all children only for the first checkpoint of the year.
  4. Use the full school readiness assessment for all children for first checkpoint of the year and only continuing use with children who do not meet expectations, for the purpose progress monitoring.
  5. For districts that use the Teaching Strategies GOLD system, use the KEA survey version for the first checkpoint.  The entire tool will be available after the first checkpoint if the district decides to assess through the winter and spring checkpoints.  

School Readiness Plans

CAP4K requires that each child in a publicly funded preschool and kindergarten program have an Individual School Readiness plan (IRP). An IRP is an individual learning plan that is informed by ongoing assessment of a child’s progress in the developmental and academic domains. The department encourages educators to consider the IRP plan to be a living document where a child’s progress is recorded and a tool for informing instruction.


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