Four of five Maryland kids ready for learning in kindergarten
State report highlights growing preparedness of black students
The proportion of Maryland children academically and socially ready to enter kindergarten increased 3 percentage points over the past year, a state report revealed.
The report released Tuesday by the Maryland State Department of Education showed that 81 percent of Maryland students entering kindergarten were "ready to learn" this year, compared with 78 percent last year. In 2001-2002, the first year the state conducted its Maryland School Readiness Report, just 49 percent of students were prepared to enter kindergarten. Students were assessed during their time in kindergarten by their teachers, the report says.
State Superintendent of Schools Nancy S. Grasmick said she was particularly pleased that the "Maryland Model for School Readiness" showed an increase in the kindergarten readiness for black students from 71 percent last year to 76 percent this year. In 2001-2002, the readiness for black students stood at 37 percent.
"That is a huge leap in many of our school systems," Grasmick said.
The school readiness model assesses students entering kindergarten into seven learning areas: language and literacy; mathematical thinking; scientific thinking; social studies; the arts; physical development; and social and personal development.
In mathematics, for example, students were tested on their ability to count, sort patterns, and know some shapes and numbers. Social studies readiness was assessed by how well students followed rules and talked about how people are alike and different.
In both 2001-2002 and 2010-2011, the report showed the greatest readiness in physical development, and the least readiness in scientific thinking.
The report also states that 79 percent of children entering kindergarten in 2010-2011 attended some kind of formal learning setting the year before starting school. The students most likely to be ready for kindergarten came from nonpublic nursery schools, where 92 percent of students were classified as ready this year.
Kindergarten readiness fell in Montgomery County from 76 percent of students last year to 74 percent this year, while readiness jumped 11 percentage points in neighboring Prince George's County from 68 to 79 percent. Readiness rose by 3 and 2 percentage points in Baltimore city and Baltimore County, respectively, to 67 percent and 85 percent.
Also encouraging for the state is the decline in the proportion of children deemed the least ready, or "developing," students from 7 percent in 2001-2002 to 3 percent in 2010-2011 and the previous two years, said Kyle Snow, director of the Center for Applied Research at the National Association for the Education of Young Children in Washington, D.C.
"The percentage of kids who are at the greatest risk, the least ready, has been cut in half," he said.