The Washington Kindergarten Inventory of Developing Skills (WaKIDS) is a statewide kindergarten readiness assessment that helps teachers better understand the needs of incoming kindergarten students and their families and builds connections to early learning providers.
The same whole-child observational assessment tool, Teaching Strategies Gold, that is used in many early learning programs is also used with WaKIDS. The items assessed within the same domains are adjusted to be age-appropriate for entering kindergarten students. (In WaKIDS, there is only one physical domain, which encompasses both gross and fine physical skills.) The fact that the same tool is used in early learning programs provides a unique opportunity to build strong connections between early learning providers, kindergarten teachers and school principals. Schools participating in WaKIDS have access to helpful data and, as training continues, teachers and principals will be able to use the data to personalize instruction for kids. Most elementary schools with state-funded full-day kindergarten participated in WaKIDS in the 2012–13 school year, and full participation is expected in the 2014–15 school year.
In the 2012–13 school year, only 37% of students met age-level expectations for all six domains, and only 34% of our low-income students exhibited characteristics of entering kindergarten students in all domains. However, most of our schools that serve the most low-income students did participate. Therefore, we do know from these data that we must do more to ensure all students are prepared to be successful in kindergarten. In future reports, we will have this important information on a broader set of students in our region.