By: Jake Stofan | Capitol News Service
July 9, 2018
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (CNS) -- New Kindergarten Readiness Exam results released by the state Department of Education show nearly half of students entering kindergarten are not prepared.
Only 54 percent of students entering kindergarten in the state passed, an 18 percent drop from the last time the test was administered four years ago.
Linda Alexionok with the Children’s Campaign says the test is flawed because it’s taken online, arguing four and five-year old children aren’t developed enough to properly use a computer.
“A developmentally inappropriate tool like a mouse at four-years-old, we think, is inappropriate,” said Alexionok.
The state is pushing back, arguing children are given tutorials on how to use the computers before taking the test. If they can’t do it successfully, the test stops and they’re given more help.
It’s also important to point out the test was administered on computers when it was given in 2013 and had much higher pass rates, but that test was scrapped for being too easy.
Roy Keister runs Scottsdale Academy and is the president of the Florida Association for Child Care Management.
“We saw about a 10 point decrease,” said Keister.
He says the new test focuses too much on literacy and not enough on areas like social development.
“They don't measure how much the children have gained socially and emotionally while they go through the VPK program,” said Keister.
The issues with the test ultimately have a greater impact on children from lower socioeconomic areas.
“A lot of children in Florida are living in food insecure houses and when you're food insecure and you're hungry it has a direct neuroscience impact on your ability to learn,” said Alexionok.
It’s important to point out the test was administered on computers when it was given in 2013 and had much higher pass rates, but that test was scrapped for being too easy.
Even with the large decrease in the pass rates, children who attend Pre-K are still about 10 percent more likely to pass the Kindergarten Readiness Exam.
Preschools could lose state funding if they don’t maintain a 60 percent pass rate.