Ready for Kindergarten (R4K) is Maryland’s Comprehensive Early Childhood Assessment System. It aligns with the new Maryland Early Learning Standards. The R4K system helps you identify the supports children need to be successful in school. R4K data is used to inform teachers, families, schools, programs, and the state so together we can meet every child’s needs.
R4K currently has two components:
- Kindergarten Readiness Assessment (KRA) measuring school readiness in four domains -- social foundations; language/literacy, mathematics, and physical well-being and motor development.
- Early Learning Assessment (ELA) (36 to 72 months) measuring the learning progress of young children in seven domains of learning -- social foundations, language/literacy, mathematics, physical well-being and motor development, science, social studies, and the fine arts.
As of July 2016, a third component will be added to R4K-- a Developmental Screening.
All three kinds of assessments are designed to happen naturally in the classroom, the playground, and other parts of your everyday routine.
R4K has a special feature -- an electronic platform that allows teachers to collect data and score items as well as participate in online professional development. The KRA also has some items that individual students can respond to on a tablet or computer. The assessment system can also be used successfully, though, with much less technology -- paper, pencil, and simple manipulatives -- depending on what you have available at your school or program. Whether with more or less technology, the assessment activities are accessible and engaging for young children.
- Kindergarten Readiness Assessment items include selected responses, performance tasks, and observations. You can perform these assessments one-on-one with students or in groups. Think of the assessment area as simply another center in your classroom. For the observations, you can simply record your notes on a tablet while students go about their usual activities -- moving between centers, at circle time, eating lunch, at play. There are 50 items in the KRA 1.5 version that is being used from 2015-2017. Public school kindergarten teachers administer the assessment throughout the beginning of the school year until November 1.
- The Early Learning Assessment is a formative assessment you can use in the natural learning environment. Think of formative assessment as a cycle -- you collect information about what a child knows, understands and is able to do; you reflect on the information gathered; and then you use the data to support a child’s learning and development. You keep collecting data and looking at how children learn and develop in an ongoing cycle. It also provides a way to shape the learning environment, learning materials, and instructional strategies to promote every child’s success. Observing and reflecting on what a child does today helps you create tools and strategies that will help the child do it better tomorrow. That’s formative assessment. The Early Learning Assessment tool will be available to everyone at no cost. Training on the use of the tool will become available later this year.
New to R4K? A comprehensive look at R4K is available here.