Past and Present

Since 2013, VKRP has expanded from a pilot assessment system in 100 classrooms to a statewide comprehensive assessment system, including 132 school divisions and nearly 86,000 students.

A timeline with the year 2020 highlighted in blue


How VKRP Began

The Virginia Kindergarten Readiness Program was initiated by Elevate Early Education (E3), a statewide bipartisan issue-advocacy organization dedicated to early childhood education. E3, in partnership with the University of Virginia’s Center for Advanced Study of Teaching and Learning (CASTL) and with guidance from the Virginia Department of Education, launched a four-phased approach to create a statewide comprehensive kindergarten assessment.

Phase 1: 2013-2014

The Task at Hand: Research and select assessment tools that could be used statewide to accurately assess readiness skills across a range of domains upon kindergarten entry. The Result: VKRP created a more comprehensive assessment system by adding assessments of early mathematics, self-regulation, and social skills. The new assessment system include and complement the existing assessment of students’ literacy skills – the Phonological Awareness Literacy Screening (PALS).

Phase 2: 2014-2015

The Task at Hand: Create a snapshot of Virginia’s entering kindergarten students with regard to readiness skills across a more comprehensive range of learning domains and clearly define the school readiness skills gap in Virginia. The Result: The phase 2 pilot study was conducted across 16 school divisions in Virginia. A sample of students who were representative of the Commonwealth indicated that 34% of children arrived at kindergarten unprepared in at least one critical learning domain (mathematics, literacy, self-regulation, and social skills). Review the full reports from phase II on our news page.

Phase 3: 2015-2019

The Task at Hand: Implement a voluntary statewide comprehensive readiness assessment system that includes the Phonological Awareness Literacy Screening (PALS). The Result: Beginning in 2015, VKRP started expanding through a gradual, voluntary roll-out. The number of divisions participating in each area increased from 21 school divisions in 2015 to 89 school divisions by the Spring of the 2018-2019 school year.

Statewide Implementation – 2019 and Beyond

VKRP is now statewide. The Virginia General Assembly passed legislation that requires all kindergarten students be assessed in the fall and spring using VKRP by the end of the 2019-2020 school year and annually thereafter. In Fall 2019, all 132 school divisions participated in VKRP with a final sample of almost 86,000 kindergarten students.
Graph showing growth of VKRP pilot from 2014-2019. Bars show number of school divisions who adopted VKRP.
School divisions who participated in the VKRP program on a voluntary basis from from Fall 2014 to Spring 2019, with state-wide implementation in Fall of 2019. From 2014-2017, the numbers in this graph are representative of school divisions who participated in a Fall assessment only at the start of the school year. In 2018, 89 school divisions voluntarily participated by the Spring of 2019, the first year a spring assessment was piloted. The participation number for 2019 represents the statewide implementation.