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The State Kindergarten Entry Assessment Digital Technology Landscape KEA

Ackerman, Debra J.
Publication Year:
Report Number:
ETS Policy Evaluation & Research Center Report, ETS Research Report
Document Type:
Page Count:
Subject/Key Words:
Kindergarten Entry Assessments (KEA), Digital Technology, Mobile Apps, Test Administration, Test Scoring, Formative Assessment, Technology and Assessment, Teaching Strategies, State Assessment Policies, Pedagogy, Early Literacy, Mathematics, Early Childhood Education, Test Validity, Touchscreen Devices, Online Data Platform, Report Generation, Digital Models, Preschool Teachers


Over the past 8 years, U.S. kindergarten classrooms have been impacted by policies mandating or recommending the administration of a specific kindergarten entry assessment (KEA) in the initial months of school as well as the increasing reliance on digital technology in the form of mobile apps, touchscreen devices, and online data platforms. Using a sample of KEAs used in 29 states in Fall 2019, in this report I examine the KEA digital technology landscape. Of particular interest was the extent to which states with similar KEA item types incorporated such technology as well as the potential impact of these technology inputs on the role of the kindergarten teacher in the KEA administration, scoring, and report-generating processes. Analyses of the study’s data demonstrated that all 29 states incorporate digital technology into their KEAs. However, differences among states’ technological inputs suggested four different models of KEAs along a continuum of supplanting versus retaining teachers’ active roles in the administration, scoring, and report-generating processes. These findings have implications for short-term research agendas aimed at supporting KEA validity, reliability, and utility.

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