Kindergarten assessment isn’t new, just streamlined

The state wants to know how prepared Florida’s kindergartners are after VPK.
By: 
Jul. 18, 2017

The Florida Department of Education recently announced that the Renaissance Star Early Literacy assessment will replace the Florida Kindergarten Readiness Screener (FLKRS).

This year the test will be computerized, taking less time and providing immediate data.

“The purpose is to determine how prepared the VPK (voluntary prekindergarten) makes the kids for kindergarten and if it’s meeting expectations,” Nancy Wait, Volusia County School spokeswoman, said.

Instead of the teachers doing the observations, the kindergarteners will put on headphones and using touchscreen, keyboard or mouse, will respond to prompts on the screen.

“This saves time and provides better data,” Wait said. “There are 27 questions and it takes about 15 minutes.”

The new assessment is state mandated for the 2017-2018 school year, and has been made available to every public school district. Students will use school-provided computers and headphones and follow the prompts.

“The state goal was for minimal testing that is valid, reliable and provides immediate data,” said Val Loomer, vice president for Renaissance Southeast region. “Each test is slightly different for each student, and adapts to the student.  The student doesn’t have to be reader.”

Karen Porte, the curriculum specialist for Flagler Schools, said the assessments in Flagler would be made in the classroom or a computer lab, depending on the teacher’s preference.

Loomer emphasized that the assessments are not pass or fail scenarios, but a diagnostic screening.

“Florida leads the way nationally in providing voluntary prekindergarten programs,” Loomer said. “The state goal is minimal testing with valid, reliable and immediate data.”