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REL Midwest Ask A REL Response

Early Childhood

February 2017


What does the research say about indicators of school readiness for children (birth to age 8)?


Following an established REL Midwest protocol, we conducted a search for research reports, descriptive studies, and policy briefs on indicators of school readiness for children. In particular, we focused on identifying resources related to early readiness for children ages 0-8. For details on the databases and sources, key words and selection criteria used to create this response, please see the methods section at the end of this memo.

Below, we share a sampling of the publicly accessible resources on this topic. The search conducted is not comprehensive; other relevant references and resources may exist. We have not evaluated the quality of references and resources provided in this response, but offer this list to you for your information only.

Research References

Abenavoli, R. M., & Greenberg, M. T. (2016). Contributions of social-emotional readiness and classroom quality to social-emotional trajectories across elementary school. Paper presented at the Society for Research on Educational Effectiveness Conference, Washington, DC. Retrieved from

From the abstract: "There is growing consensus among researchers and practitioners that children's social-emotional readiness makes unique contributions to their successful transition to and progress through school. However, many children still begin school ill-prepared for the behavioral demands they will encounter in the classroom... This study examines the joint contributions of social-emotional readiness and classroom experiences to children's social-emotional trajectories in elementary school. Specifically, using a sample of 1292 rural, mostly poor children in Pennsylvania and North Carolina, this study examines: (1) the contributions of children's prosocial behavior, inattention, and conduct problems to their developmental trajectories in these same domains; (2) the effects of classroom management, emotional support, and instructional support in kindergarten through third grade classrooms on children's social-emotional functioning; and (3) the interactive effects of social-emotional readiness and classroom experiences on REL Midwest School Readiness Indicators-1 0668_03/17 social-emotional trajectories from kindergarten to grade 3... Data were drawn from a large-scale longitudinal study of children and families living in high-poverty, rural counties in North Carolina and Pennsylvania... This study utilized a longitudinal, non-experimental design... Children's prosocial behavior, inattention, and conduct problems were assessed in the year prior to kindergarten by parent and/or preschool teacher report, and they were assessed again each spring in kindergarten through grade 3 by teacher report. Children's prosocial behavior and conduct problems were assessed by the Strengths and Difficulties Questionnaire, and children's inattention was assessed with items from the ADHD subscale of the Disruptive Behavior Disorders Rating Scale, which was based on Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM) diagnostic criteria... Although this study is non-experimental, results contribute to the literature on the extent to which social-emotional readiness and certain classroom experiences may reduce skills gaps (i.e., encourage 'catch-up') among rural, mostly low-income children."

Abenavoli, R. M., & Greenberg, M. T. (2014). Patterns of school readiness among low-income kindergarteners. Paper presented at the Society for Research on Educational Effectiveness Conference, Washington, DC. Retrieved from

From the abstract: "School readiness is best conceptualized as a multidimensional construct that spans several skill domains. Academic and behavioral skills have been identified as important components of school readiness that uniquely predict learning and achievement. Few studies, however, have examined the effects of these skills simultaneously or explored how they interact within individuals. Person-oriented approaches show promise in furthering the understanding of variation in school readiness... The current study, which was conducted in a low-income, urban school district in Pennsylvania, had two primary aims. First, the authors examined whether teacher ratings of children's skills at the beginning of kindergarten could be used to identify school readiness profiles that differed in patterns of strengths and weaknesses across multiple domains (i.e., academic skills, learning engagement, social-emotional skills, aggression, and inattention/hyperactivity). Second, they explored the validity of profiles derived from teacher ratings by examining group differences on concurrent measures of language, executive functioning, peer relationships, and student-teacher relationships... Participants were 301 kindergarteners (64% male) from a low-income, urban setting who were also part of a broader study about the development and prevention of aggression. At the start of kindergarten, teachers in 10 elementary schools rated children on aggression. These ratings were used to recruit children either to a 'high aggression' group, if they scored in the top quartile of their class on aggression, or a 'low aggression' group, if they scored in the bottom quartile of their class on aggression. The current study used data from 180 'high aggression' children and 121 'low aggression' children with data on any of the 10 teacher-rated indicators of school readiness in the fall of kindergarten. On average, children were about 6 years old (M = 6.09, SD = 0.38) in the fall of kindergarten... Using teacher ratings from the fall of kindergarten, the current study identified four school readiness profiles that differed in their patterns of strengths and weakness across multiple domains of functioning. These profiles also differed on other measures of language, executive functioning, and relationships with peers and teachers, which suggests that profiles derived from teacher ratings are meaningful and valid... Results highlight the importance of considering intraindividual patterns of school readiness skills. Person-oriented approaches can aid in the identification of kindergarteners with risky school readiness profiles, as well as inform the development and delivery of individually tailored interventions to meet the specific needs of children starting school."

Bettencourt, A., Gross, D., & Ho, G. (2016). The costly consequences of not being socially and behaviorally ready by kindergarten: Associations with grade retention, receipt of academic support services, and suspensions/expulsions. Baltimore, MD: Baltimore Education Research Consortium. Retrieved from

From the abstract: "In 2014-15, over 50% of kindergarten children in Baltimore City Public Schools (City Schools) did not meet benchmarks for social-behavior readiness. These include the readiness skills children need to follow directions, comply with rules, manage emotions, solve problems, organize and complete tasks, and get along with others. Social-behavioral readiness skills develop early, before children enter school, and they are essential for learning in a classroom setting. What is the impact of not being socially and behaviorally ready on children's academic outcomes? This report examines the relationships between social-behavioral readiness in kindergarten as measured by the Maryland Model for School Readiness (MMSR) and three costly school outcomes for City Schools' students through third grade: being retained in grade, receiving additional services and supports through an Individualized Education Plan (IEP) or 504 plan, and being suspended or expelled from school... findings underscore the critical importance of young children entering school with essential social-behavioral skills and the costly consequences of not being socially and behaviorally ready for students and their families, school systems, and society."

Brown, G., Scott-Little, C., Amwake, L., & Wynn, L. (2007). A review of methods and instruments used in state and local school readiness evaluations (Issues & Answers Report, REL 2007-No. 004). Washington, DC: U.S. Department of Education, Institute of Education Sciences, National Center for Education Evaluation and Regional Assistance, Regional Educational Laboratory Southeast. Retrieved from

From the abstract: "The report provides detailed information about the methods and instruments used to evaluate school readiness initiatives, discusses important considerations in selecting instruments, and provides resources and recommendations that may be helpful to those who are designing and implementing school readiness evaluations. Study results indicate that state and local evaluators have used a variety of instruments to collect child outcome data, some that are well known and others that are not. In general, many of the better-known instruments demonstrate adequate psychometric properties (reliability and validity, which ensure that the instruments consistently measure what they were intended to measure), but a number of issues, such as the appropriateness of the measure to the study's purpose and sample, appear to present substantial challenges in evaluations of state- and locally-funded school readiness programs. Recommendations based on the data collected from this sample are provided to help school readiness programs and evaluators as they select instruments for assessing programs and implementing the evaluations include: (1) Careful selection of outcomes for assessment that match the goals of the program and address the components of children's learning and development that are linked with later success in school; (2) Clear definition of the purpose for which assessment data will be collected, and selection of instruments designed and validated for that purpose; (3) Selection of instruments that have a proven track record; (4) Selection of instruments that are culturally and linguistically appropriate; (5) Consideration of data collection (internal/external); (6) Assessment administration, including training and reliability studies; and (7) Data collection in context. Report findings highlight the challenges that evaluators face in ensuring that data are collected in a manner that yields credible, trustworthy, and meaningful information about child outcomes. The report cites a number of resources that can assist evaluators in making decisions about child assessments: resources to guide decisions about how to assess child outcomes, reviews of measures, and web sites with technical information related to measures used in large federal studies."

Goffin, S. G. (2010). Expanding school readiness gains in prekindergarten. NCRECE In Focus, 1(6). Retrieved from

From the abstract: "With growing public interest in children's success in kindergarten, more studies are examining prekindergarten (pre-k) classroom characteristics and their relationship to children's school readiness. These studies, for the most part, have focused on classroom environment characteristics associated with overall program quality, especially as measured by the Early Childhood Education Rating System (ECERS) and by the level of teachers' formal preparation. Recently, attention has moved to measuring teacher-child interactions, especially as assessed by the Classroom Assessment Scoring System (CLASS). This study, however, took a different tack. It focused on individual children and the type of activities with which they engage during their prekindergarten day - what the researchers call 'pattern of classroom engagement.' Looking beyond the environment provided for learning and delving more deeply into activities occupying children's time, this study sought to examine the relationship between four different patterns of classroom engagement and children's later success on language, literacy, and mathematics school readiness indicators. The study had two overarching purposes: (1) To assess the relationship between children's pattern of classroom engagement and their school readiness gains during the prekindergarten year and (2) To learn if some patterns of classroom engagement promoted greater school readiness gains for low-income children."

Goffin, S. G. (2010). Learning how much quality is necessary to get to good results for children. NCRECE In Focus, 1(2). Retrieved from

From the abstract: "How good does an early childhood program have to be in order to achieve school readiness outcomes for children? This is known as the 'threshold question,' and policy makers and others have wanted an answer to this question since the onset of public investments in early care and education (ECE) programs. With expansion of Head Start and pre-kindergarten programs for three- and four-year-old children, this question is getting even more attention. Policy and other decision makers want this information so they can craft policies and direct resources to those factors that make the most difference to children's school readiness. While we know that higher quality ECE programs and better results for children tend to go hand-in-hand, we don't know the level of quality or quality indicators that are necessary for achieving learning outcomes that help children be successful in kindergarten and beyond. In an attempt to fill this knowledge gap-to try and identify the minimum level of program quality required to attain positive results for children-this study examined academic and social outcomes for children from low income families. For the purposes of this study, low-income was defined by household income of less than 150% of the federal poverty level. The study focused on these children because, as a group, they are the target of most policy decisions related to program quality and access by families. The study used data on teacher-child interactions and instructional quality from an 11-state pre-kindergarten (pre-k) evaluation. The findings show that achieving positive child outcomes require higher- quality, publicly-funded pre-k programs than typically are available."

Reynolds, A. J., Richardson, B. A., Hayakawa, M., Lease, E. M., Warner-Richter, M., Englund, M. M.,...Sullivan, M. (2014). Association of a full-day vs part-day preschool intervention with school readiness, attendance, and parent involvement. JAMA, 312(20), 2126–2134. Retrieved from

From the abstract: "Importance: Early childhood interventions have demonstrated positive effects on well-being. Whether full-day vs part-day attendance improves outcomes is unknown. Objective: To evaluate the association between a full- vs part-day early childhood program and school readiness, attendance, and parent involvement. Design, Setting, and Participants: End-of-preschool follow-up of a nonrandomized, matched-group cohort of predominantly low-income, ethnic minority children enrolled in the Child-Parent Centers (CPC) for the full day (7 hours; n = 409) or part day (3 hours on average; n = 573) in the 2012-2013 school year in 11 schools in Chicago, Illinois. Intervention The Midwest CPC Education Program provides comprehensive instruction, family-support, and health services from preschool to third grade. Main Outcomes and Measures: School readiness skills at the end of preschool, attendance and chronic absences, and parental involvement. The readiness domains in the Teaching Strategies GOLD Assessment System include a total of 49 items with a score range of 105-418. The specific domains are socioemotional with 9 items (score range, 20-81), language with 6 items (score range, 15-54), literacy with 12 items (score range, 9-104), math with 7 items (score, 8-60), physical health with 5 items (score range, 14-45), and cognitive development with 10 items (score range, 18-90). Results: Full-day preschool participants had higher scores than part-day peers on socioemotional development (58.6 vs 54.5; difference, 4.1; 95% CI, 0.5-7.6; P = .03), language (39.9 vs 37.3; difference, 2.6; 95% CI, 0.6-4.6; P = .01), math (40.0 vs 36.4; difference, 3.6; 95% CI, 0.5-6.7; P = .02), physical health (35.5 vs 33.6; difference, 1.9; 95% CI, 0.5-3.2; P = .006), and the total score (298.1 vs 278.2; difference, 19.9; 95% CI, 1.2-38.4; P = .04). Literacy (64.5 vs 58.6; difference, 5.9; 95% CI, -0.07 to 12.4; P = .08) and cognitive development (59.7 vs 57.7; difference, 2.0; 95% CI, -2.4 to 6.3; P = .38) were not significant. Full-day preschool graduates also had higher rates of attendance (85.9% vs 80.4%; difference, 5.5; 95% CI, 2.6-8.4; P = .001) and lower rates of chronic absences (≥10% days missed; 53.0% vs 71.6%; difference, -18.6; 95% CI, -28.5 to -8.7; P = .001; ≥20% days missed; 21.2% vs 38.8%; difference -17.6%; 95% CI, -25.6 to -9.7; P < .001) but no differences in parental involvement. Conclusions and Relevance: In an expansion of the CPCs in Chicago, a full-day preschool intervention was associated with increased school readiness skills in 4 of 6 domains, attendance, and reduced chronic absences compared with a part-day program. These findings should be replicated in other programs and contexts."

Rock, D. A., & Stenner, A. J. (2005). Assessment issues in the testing of children at school entry. Future of Children, 15(1), 15-34. Retrieved from

From the abstract: "The authors introduce readers to the research documenting racial and ethnic gaps in school readiness. They describe the key tests, including the Peabody Picture Vocabulary Test (PPVT), the Early Childhood Longitudinal Study (ECLS), and several intelligence tests, and describe how they have been administered to several important national samples of children. Next, the authors review the different estimates of the gaps and discuss how to interpret these differences. In interpreting test results, researchers use the statistical term 'standard deviation' to compare scores across the tests. On average, the tests find a gap of about 1 standard deviation. The ECLS-K estimate is the lowest, about half a standard deviation. The PPVT estimate is the highest, sometimes more than 1 standard deviation. When researchers adjust those gaps statistically to take into account different outside factors that might affect children's test scores, such as family income or home environment, the gap narrows but does not disappear. Why such different estimates of the gap? The authors consider explanations such as differences in the samples, racial or ethnic bias in the tests, and whether the tests reflect different aspects of school 'readiness,' and conclude that none is likely to explain the varying estimates. Another possible explanation is the Spearman Hypothesis-that all tests are imperfect measures of a general ability construct, g; the more highly a given test correlates with g, the larger the gap will be. But the Spearman Hypothesis, too, leaves questions to be investigated. A gap of 1 standard deviation may not seem large, but the authors show clearly how it results in striking disparities in the performance of black and white students and why it should be of serious concern to policymakers."

Rojas, N. (2016). The association of peer behavioral regulation with school readiness skills in preschool. Paper presented at the Society for Research on Educational Effectiveness Conference, Washington, DC. Retrieved from

From the abstract: "The current study examines classroom-level peer behavioral regulation skills and their implications for children's school readiness outcomes. Specifically, this study will answer the following research questions: (1) Is the average level of peers' behavioral regulation skills in a classroom in the fall associated with growth in children's school readiness outcomes in preschool (motor, content knowledge, and language), across fall to spring? Is a child's skill relative to his or her peers in a classroom in the fall associated with growth in school readiness outcomes in preschool (motor, content knowledge, and language), across fall to spring? and (2) Do these associations differ for children with high and low initial levels of behavioral regulation? The study's sample is drawn from a longitudinal randomized controlled trial (RCT) of ParentCorps, a family-focused and school-based intervention. New York City elementary schools with preschool programs in two school districts serving primarily low-income and minority populations were included. Universal intervention aimed to promote self-regulation and early learning by strengthening positive behavior support and effective behavior management at home and school, and increasing parent involvement in education. Intervention included after-school group sessions for families of pre-k students (13 2-hour sessions; co-led by pre-k teachers) and professional development for pre-k and kindergarten teachers. A total of 10 schools were selected, with 5 schools randomized to the intervention condition, and 5 schools randomized to the preschool-as-usual control condition. The RCT aimed to study all preschool students in four successive annual cohorts in each school. The sample included a total of 99 preschool classrooms over the four years of the study. Behavioral regulation was assessed using Developmental Indicators for the Assessment of Learning (DIAL) Behavioral Observations. Results indicated that after adjusting for an assortment of demographic, program-related, and teacher factors as well as school readiness skills at entry to preschool, classroom-level peer engagement skills appear to make a unique contribution to children's school readiness skills during the preschool academic year. When fall peer engagement was higher, children's total school readiness skills average was higher in the spring, adjusting for fall school readiness skills. Peer effects appear particularly influential for children whose initial (fall) engagement skills were low when measured in relation to their classmates. Children with low initial engagement skills in a classroom with peers with low engagement skills tend to have small growth in school readiness skills by the end of the preschool year. However, children with low engagement skills in a classroom with peers with high engagement skills tend to have large growth in school readiness skills by the end of the preschool year."

Sasser, T., & Bierman, K. (2011). Inattention and impulsivity: Differential impact on school readiness capacities. Paper presented at the Society for Research on Educational Effectiveness Conference, Washington, DC. Retrieved from

From the abstract: "Despite the conceptual link between self-regulation skills and school readiness capacities, questions remain regarding how distinct but related facets of self-regulation (i.e., attention regulation, behavior regulation) differentially impact the development of school readiness capacities during early childhood. Additionally, little is known about whether these distinct facets of self-regulation moderate children's responses to early interventions designed to target school readiness capacities. The current study addresses these issues, by: 1) conducting factor analyses on teacher ratings of child inattention and impulsivity to validate the separate dimensions of attention and behavior regulation at pre-kindergarten, 2) evaluating the unique impact of teacher-rated inattention and impulsivity on specific school readiness skills and behaviors within the pre-kindergarten year, and 3) examining the moderation of intervention response based upon teacher-rated inattention and impulsivity. In the present study, 44 Head Start classrooms were randomly assigned to an enriched intervention Head Start (Head Start REDI) or to 'usual practice' classrooms. The enrichment program included Preschool PATHS Curriculum and components targeting language and emergent literacy skills. Assessments tracked the progress of 356 4-year-old children over the course of the pre-kindergarten and kindergarten years. It was hypothesized that children's initial attention and behavior regulation skills would influence children's acquisition of social-emotional and emergent literacy skills during the pre-kindergarten year, and would serve as moderators of child response to the REDI intervention."

Shields, K. A., Cook, K. D., & Greller, S. (2016). How kindergarten entry assessments are used in public schools and how they correlate with spring assessments (REL 2017-182). Washington, DC: U.S. Department of Education, Institute of Education Sciences, National Center for Education Evaluation and Regional Assistance, Regional Educational Laboratory Northeast & Islands. Retrieved from

From the abstract: "As a growing number of states require kindergarten entry assessments, more state and district administrators are becoming interested in how their peers use these assessments around the country. Given this interest, state administrators participating in Regional Educational Laboratory Northeast & Islands Early Childhood Education Research Alliance generated the idea for this study as a source of information as they implemented plans for statewide assessments. Using nationally representative data from the Early Childhood Longitudinal Study, Kindergarten Class of 2010-11, this study examined how many public schools used kindergarten entry assessments and for what purposes, what types of public schools used kindergarten entry assessments, and whether the use of kindergarten entry assessments was correlated with student early learning assessment scores in reading and math in spring of the kindergarten year. Findings from the study include: (1) Overall, 73 percent of public schools offering kindergarten classes reported using kindergarten entry assessments; (2) The most common purpose of kindergarten entry assessments was individualizing instruction, reported by 93 percent of public schools using them. Sixty-five percent of schools using kindergarten entry assessments reported that they used the assessments to identify students needing additional testing for learning problems. Schools also reported using the assessments for one or more purposes related to enrollment: to determine class placement (41 percent of schools using kindergarten entry assessments), to advise parents about delayed entry (24 percent), and to determine eligibility for students whose age fell below the cutoff (16 percent); (3) Most public schools using kindergarten entry assessments did so for multiple purposes (80 percent). Fifty percent of schools using the assessments reported both instructional- and enrollment-related purposes; 60 percent used the assessments for both instructional purposes and screening to identify additional testing needs; and (4) Schools' reported use of kindergarten entry assessments did not have a statistically significant relationship with students' early learning in reading or math in spring of the kindergarten year when the analysis controlled for student and school characteristics. This study provides states and schools with information about the use of kindergarten entry assessments nationwide and offers contextual information to state- level administrators as they select, develop, and implement these assessments. As an exploratory analysis, this study describes how schools say they use kindergarten entry assessments, without drawing conclusions about the effects of their use. Future research could examine the relationships between the nature and quality of the implementation of these assessments and student outcomes."

Walsh, C. B. (2005). School readiness indicators: A tool to advocate for the whole child. (Advocacy Brief). Washington, DC: Voices for America's Children. Retrieved from

From the abstract: "'School Readiness Indicators: Making Progress for Young Children' was a multi-state initiative that used child well-being indicators to build a change agenda in states and local communities in order to improve school readiness and ensure early school success. The central premise behind this initiative was that top-notch school readiness indicator systems at the state and local levels can be used to build support for early childhood investments. The task of the 17 participating states was to develop a comprehensive set of school readiness indicators from birth through third grade. The attention to tracking state level outcomes for the youngest children was a unique focus of the initiative's work. The 17 states involved in the initiative assembled teams comprised of government leaders, child advocates, and researchers to accomplish the following objectives: (1) create a set of measurable indicators related to and defining school readiness that can be tracked regularly over time at the state and local levels; (2) have states and local governments adopt this indicators-based definition of school readiness, fill in the gaps in data availability, track data over time, and report findings to their citizens; and (3) stimulate policy, program, and other actions to improve the ability of all children to read at grade level by the end of third grade. This paper discusses how states participating in this ground breaking initiative understood the importance of addressing the comprehensive nature of school readiness. It also provides examples of the many ways states have used their school readiness indicators to change policy on behalf of young children and their families."

Williams, J. M., Landry, S. H., Anthony, J. L., Swank, P. R., & Crawford, A. D. (2012). An empirically-based statewide system for identifying quality pre-kindergarten programs. Education Policy Analysis Archives, 20(17). Retrieved from

From the abstract: "This study presents an empirically-based statewide system that links information about pre-kindergarten programs with children's school readiness scores to certify pre-kindergarten classrooms as promoting school readiness. Over 8,000 children from 1,255 pre-kindergarten classrooms were followed longitudinally for one year. Pre-kindergarten quality indicators of intentional instruction, an early literacy focus, and professional development were key predictors of kindergarten outcomes. A latent profile analysis identified pre-kindergarten classrooms that were high on pre-kindergarten quality indicators and high on kindergarten outcomes (67.3%), low on pre-kindergarten quality and kindergarten outcomes (21.3%), or low on quality but high on outcomes (11.4%). The last group of classrooms was likely to serve middle-class children and not use the state program model. This project demonstrates how a scientific approach can inform stakeholders and parents about the effectiveness of early childhood programs."

Additional Organizations to Consult

Alliance for Early Success –

From the website: "The Alliance for Early Success is a catalyst for putting vulnerable young children on a path to success. As an alliance of state, national, and funding partners, our goal is to advance state policies that lead to improved health, learning, and economic outcomes for young children, starting at birth and continuing through age eight. We create and enhance partnerships by bringing leaders together in new and innovative ways, with the goal of achieving results faster and better than anyone could do alone."

Center on Enhancing Early Learning Outcomes (CEELO) –

From the website: "One of 22 Comprehensive Centers funded by the U.S. Department of Education's Office of Elementary and Secondary Education, the Center on Enhancing Early Learning Outcomes (CEELO) will strengthen the capacity of State Education Agencies (SEAs) to lead sustained improvements in early learning opportunities and outcomes. CEELO will work in partnership with SEAs, state and local early childhood leaders, and other federal and national technical assistance (TA) providers to promote innovation and accountability."

National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC) –

From the website: "The National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC) is a professional membership organization that works to promote high-quality early learning for all young children, birth through age 8, by connecting early childhood practice, policy, and research. We advance a diverse, dynamic early childhood profession and support all who care for, educate, and work on behalf of young children."

National Center for Research on Early Childhood Education (NCRECE) –

From the website: "The National Center for Research on Early Childhood Education (NCRECE) is an Institute of Education Sciences (IES) funded, cross-university partnership (University of Virginia, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, University of North Carolina at Greensboro, and University of California at Los Angeles) that focuses on conducting research, disseminating research findings, and carrying out leadership activities aimed at improving the quality of early childhood education across the United States."

School Readiness Research Alliance –

From the website: "The goal of the School Readiness Research Alliance is to build state and local capacity to use data and research to plan, support, and implement initiatives that will promote school readiness. The alliance is comprised of 15 core members, including members from Florida's Office of Early Learning, early learning coalitions, higher education institutions, and non-profit foundations in the State of Florida; the Georgia Department of Early Care and Learning; and the Mississippi Department of Education, Office of Elementary Education and Reading. Efforts of this alliance focus not only on the readiness of children, but also the readiness of families, communities, and early care and education providers to offer successful learning opportunities to young children."


Keywords and Search Strings

The following keywords and search strings were used to search the reference databases and other sources:

  • Readiness -college

  • "School readiness" -college

  • "School readiness" AND indicator -college

  • Readiness AND (kindergarten OR elementary OR preschool) -college

  • "School readiness" AND (assess OR assessment) -college

Databases and Search Engines

We searched ERIC for relevant resources. ERIC is a free online library of more than 1.6 million citations of education research sponsored by the Institute of Education Sciences (IES). Additionally, we searched Google Scholar.

Reference Search and Selection Criteria

When we were searching and reviewing resources, we considered the following criteria:

  • Date of the publication: References and resources published over the last 15 years, from 2002 to present, were include in the search and review.

  • Search priorities of reference sources: Search priority is given to study reports, briefs, and other documents that are published or reviewed by IES and other federal or federally funded organizations.

  • Methodology: We used the following methodological priorities/considerations in the review and selection of the references: (a) study types—randomized control trials, quasi-experiments, surveys, descriptive data analyses, literature reviews, policy briefs, and so forth, generally in this order, (b) target population, samples (e.g., representativeness of the target population, sample size, volunteered or randomly selected), study duration, and so forth, and (c) limitations, generalizability of the findings and conclusions, and so forth.
This memorandum is one in a series of quick-turnaround responses to specific questions posed by educational stakeholders in the Midwest Region (Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Michigan, Minnesota, Ohio, Wisconsin), which is served by the Regional Educational Laboratory (REL Region) at American Institutes for Research. This memorandum was prepared by REL Midwest under a contract with the U.S. Department of Education’s Institute of Education Sciences (IES), Contract ED-IES-17-C-0007, administered by American Institutes for Research. Its content does not necessarily reflect the views or policies of IES or the U.S. Department of Education nor does mention of trade names, commercial products, or organizations imply endorsement by the U.S. Government.