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Minnesota dept. of education study finds majority of five-year-olds prepared for kindergarten

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A report released by the Minnesota Department of Education (MDE) June 12 found that the majority of Minnesota children are prepared for kindergarten. The report also highlighted the need to continue improving school readiness for those children most at-risk of entering kindergarten unprepared.

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"Minnesotans can be proud of their efforts to prepare our young children for success as they enter kindergarten," Minnesota Education Commissioner Alice Seagren said.

The Minnesota School Readiness Study found that between 87 percent and 96 percent of Minnesota five-year-olds were "In Process or Proficient" in five developmental areas necessary for school success: physical development, the arts, personal and social development, language and literacy, and mathematical thinking. This compares with between 90 percent and 97 percent in last year's study.

The report examines how child and family characteristics may affect children's ratings.

Again this year, household income as indexed to the Federal Poverty Guidelines and primary language spoken in the home were shown to be related to proficiency levels.

The report found that children from low-income families or from families that spoke multiple languages or a language other than English at home were less likely to be rated as Proficient and In Process.

"Improving programs and services that help prepare our most at-risk children continues to be a major focus of our work at MDE," Seagren said. "We will continue to work with parents, educators and policymakers, including the recently established State Advisory Council on Early Childhood Education and Care, to prepare every Minnesota kindergartner for success in school."

This year's study involved 6,310 kindergartners from 96 randomly selected elementary schools across the state representing just over ten percent of students entering kindergarten in the fall of 2008.

The study rates a child's performance as Proficient, In Process or Not Yet on key indicators in the five developmental areas.

Beginning in 2002, MDE initiated a series of yearly studies focused on obtaining a picture of the school readiness of Minnesota kindergartners as they enter school in the fall. The studies were well received by the public and the legislature, which appropriated funding for the study to continue on an annual basis.

The study brief of the report can be found at http://education.state.mn.us/mdeprod/groups/EarlyLearning/documents/Repo...

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