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Real World Compromises: Policy and Practice Impacts of Kindergarten Entry Assessment‐Related Validity and Reliability Challenges

Ackerman, Debra J.
Publication Year:
Report Number:
ETS Research Report
Document Type:
Page Count:
Subject/Key Words:
Kindergarten, Test Validity, Test Reliability, Policy Implementation, Race to the Top - Early Learning Challenge, Teacher Observation, Alignment of Standards, Entrance Examinations


Kindergarten entry assessments (KEAs) have increasingly been incorporated into state education policies over the past 5 years, with much of this interest stemming from Race to the Top—Early Learning Challenge (RTT‐ELC) awards, Enhanced Assessment Grants, and nationwide efforts to develop common K–12 state learning standards. Drawing on information included in RTT‐ELC annual progress reports, published research, and a variety of other KEA‐relevant documents, in this report, I share the results of case studies of 7 recently implemented state KEAs. The focus of this inquiry was the assessment‐ and teacher‐related validity and reliability challenges that contributed to adjustments to the content of these measures, the policies regarding when they are to be administered, and the training and technical support provided to teachers who are tasked with the role of KEA assessor and data interpreter. Although these 7 KEAs differ, the results of the study suggest that they experienced common validity and reliability issues and subsequent policy and practice revisions. These findings also suggest the value of iterative research as a means for highlighting these issues and informing the policies and practices that can impact KEA validity and reliability.

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