Child and teacher using an iPadKindergarten Screening Tool

Imagine screening all of your incoming TK and K students before school starts for academic as well as social- emotional readiness and being able to start teaching the day school begins. The Kindergarten Screening Tool or KST is an 18 item screening tool, designed to provide a snapshot of a child’s skills as they enter Transitional Kindergarten or Kindergarten. Areas assessed are social emotional development, language and literacy, mathematics and a self-portrait.

This tool was developed by a comprehensive team of kindergarten teachers with the support of the Humboldt County Office of Education and the Decade of Difference: 2020 Initiative. This tool is evidence informed and is based on readiness skills outlined in the California Preschool Learning Foundations, California’s State Standards, and best practices for kindergarten entry level assessments.

This online assessment can be easily and quickly completed on a traditional computer, iPad or other tablet. Data can be printed or viewed as an Excel file where multiple features can be selected to examine variables such as language and literacy performance by gender groups or how students who attended preschool compare with those who did not. Teachers can also view their class data and quickly establish quartiles helpful for grouping and differentiated instruction.

How can the Kindergarten Screening Tool (KST) data be used?

Grant writing is more successful when you have hard data! In Humboldt County social emotional scores of entering TK/K students were significantly lower than the other areas assessed. Locally we have been able to obtain more than $400,000 in grants to support training in social emotional development. The County Office of Education has purchased more than 100 Second Step kits and trained more than 75 preschool teachers and family childcare providers on this curriculum. In partnership with First Five Humboldt and the 0-8 Mental Health Collaborative we have provided training in early childhood mental health to hundreds of early childhood professionals. As a result, we are seeing a steady rise in entry level social emotional level scores.

This data has allowed the Humboldt County Office of Education to:

  • Understand where to direct more resources and track their impact.
  • Participate in important county-wide initiatives with partners pursuing a collective impact for the most at-risk youth.
  • Assist teachers in understanding which students are at-risk and should receive more careful observation and monitoring throughout the year.
  • Collaborate with partners by sharing valuable countywide data on the impact of programs that support school readiness 

Below are four years’ worth of infographics that use data compiled from Humboldt County’s use of the Kindergarten Screening Tool:

How is the Kindergarten Screening Tool (KST) administered?

Some schools assess incoming students at school wide round ups while others assess in the first month of school. The social emotional measures are observation based while the mathematics and language/literacy items are conducted sitting one-on-one with children and an electronic device.

How is data collected and reported?

All individual data should be entered into the teacher’s class list by the end of the first month of school.  Should the district choose to participate in the Full Year Inventory, the KST data is automatically entered into the report card as an entry level measurement to be compared to ongoing progress.  Once student data is entered, teachers can easily generate reports to determine quartiles for grouping and use data for developing curriculum to meet individual and class needs.   Individual student, class and district wide data will be available in individual and aggregate totals to school and district administration if desired.