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Comparing the Content of, and Home Language Use Policies for Six GOLD-Based Kindergarten Entry Assessments KEA ELL SEL

Ackerman, Debra J.
Publication Year:
Early Education and Development, v31 n5 p676-700, July 2020
Document Type:
Page Count:
Subject/Key Words:
Early Childhood Education, Kindergarten Entry Assessments (KEA), English Language Learners (ELL), Native Language, Language Usage, Comparison, Test Validity, Test Reliability, Construct-Irrelevant Factors, Language Policy, Scoring Rubrics, Data Analysis, Learning Domains, Social and Emotional Learning (SEL), Early Literacy, Teaching Strategies


Two consequentially related education policy topics in the United States are kindergarten entry assessments (KEAs) and the growing number of students who are “English learners” (ELs). In this study, I compared the content of, and home language use policies for six state KEAs, all of which were comprised of items from the GOLD observational measure. Of specific interest were the domains, and items within domains, contained in these “GOLD-based” KEAs, and for which items EL kindergartners were permitted to use their home language to demonstrate their knowledge and skills. Research Findings: The six sampled GOLD-based KEAs differed in the domains included and items for which teachers were expected to collect evidence, as well as the extent to which such evidence was permitted to be collected while EL kindergartners used their home language. Practice or Policy: The study’s results suggest that it could be useful for policymakers tasked with selecting or developing a KEA aimed at informing kindergarten teachers’ instruction in classrooms serving EL kindergartners to consider the validity and reliability tradeoffs of implementing different versions of a GOLD-based KEA. These results also suggest several GOLD-based KEA validity and reliability topics to be researched.

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