Research underscores the critical importance of providing early math, language and reading instruction in preschool, as reflected in Indiana’s Early Learning Foundations, the state’s early learning development framework for children three to five years of age. However, Indiana’s early childhood education system has lacked a standard approach to measuring these skills, especially in Pre-Kindergarten classrooms.
That’s why in 2016 the Richard M. Fairbanks Foundation and Welborn Baptist Foundation partnered together to contract with NORC at the University of Chicago to develop the Kindergarten Readiness Indicators (KRI), a brief assessment that measures early literacy and numeracy skills for Pre-K children. The Fairbanks Foundation also provided funding to Early Learning Indiana to help pilot the KRI in Marion County, while Welborn Baptist Foundation provided funding to 4C to help pilot the test in Vanderburgh County. In total, the Fairbanks Foundation awarded $254,454 to fund the development of the KRI.
In 2019, the State of Indiana adopted the KRI to assess children who participate in the On My Way Pre-K (OMWPK) program and collect aggregated data of kindergarten readiness. Results from the KRI, which will be administered in OMWPK classrooms for the first time in April 2021, will provide early childhood centers with insights on where their lessons are most effective, and where students need more support.
“The KRI will be our first real temperature check in these most essential foundational skills of early math and early literacy,” said Maureen Weber, President and CEO of Early Learning Indiana. “We’re really hopeful that the KRI is going to give us a way of letting policymakers and others know the health of early childhood education in Indiana overall.”