August 2012 KEA Seminar

Nearly one hundred early childhood and K-12 practictioners from around the state gathered to discuss Kindergarten Entry Assessments (KEA) on Friday, August 17th, 2012. The seminar co-hosted by the Minnesota Department of Education and Bloomington School District is the first of a number of conversations as Minnesota evaluates the direction of a statewide KEA. The goal of the seminar was not to determine a statewide KEA tool, but to learn what districts are doing to assess kindergarten readiness.

Karen Cadigan, Director of the Office of Early Learning, kicked off the event by presenting on national trends and the future of KEA in the state.

As a part of the Race to the Top- Early Learning Challenge Grant, Minnesota is committed to evaluating the current statewide KEA, the School Readiness Study, and refining our system. To support this work, a Comprehensive Assessment Coordinator is being hired at MDE. One of the Assessment Cooridnator’s roles will be to oversee a Comprehensive Assessment System Task Force to be established fall 2012. The task force is charged to recommend a KEA that meets our vision to measure children’s outcomes not to just report on them, but to improve them.

Bloomington, Minneapolis and Deer River were among the three districts presenting on their local KEAs. As demonstrated on this presenter matrix, all three distritcts use data gathered from their KEA to drive decisions in their district regarding instruction and student interventions, identify gaps and inform early childhood systems. Each district has created a data system that links students to data gathered throughout their school career. That way, teachers can have a better idea of who is in their classroom and districts can analyze student trends and address gaps.

A recording of the seminar may be viewed here: