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What’s the purpose? Educators’ perceptions and use of a state-mandated kindergarten entry assessment

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Published: 2018-11-05

Authors

Hattie Harvey

University of Alaska Anchorage

http://orcid.org/0000-0002-9869-0868

Kathryn Ohle

University of Alaska Anchorage

Keywords: state-mandated assessments; kindergarten entry assessment; educator perceptions; early childhood educational policy

Abstract

Educator’s perceptions and use of a state-mandated kindergarten entry assessment (KEA), the Alaska Developmental Profile (ADP), were investigated using a mixed-methods approach with 233 educators representing 23 districts in the state of Alaska. Educators reported inconsistencies in the administration, implementation, perceptions, and use of the ADP. These inconsistencies were connected to an unclear understanding of the purpose for the ADP, a finding that most likely reflects the compliance model of those administering state-mandated assessments instead of educators seeing these tools as useful for instructional decision-making. Results suggest policy makers should strive to ensure all stakeholders have a clear understanding of the purpose for a state-mandated KEA and that systems are in place to ensure reliability and validity of the data. Teachers are urged to become familiar in using formative, observation-based assessment approaches and consider how data gathered from a KEA can provide meaningful information for instructional planning. Administrators are encouraged to provide the professional development and support needed to engage in data-driven decision making. And finally, researchers are reminded of their role in helping conduct research that examines the processes and impact of state-mandated assessments.

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Author Biographies

Hattie Harvey

University of Alaska Anchorage

Dr. Hattie Harvey is an Assistant Professor in the Early Childhood Special Education program, School of Education at the University of Alaska Anchorage. Dr. Harvey’s research focuses on assessment to information instructional and curricular planning, and social-emotional interventions for young children with challenging behaviors.

Kathryn Ohle

University of Alaska Anchorage

Dr. Kathyn Ohle is an Associate Professor in the Early Childhood program, School of Eduation at the University of Alaska Anchorage. Dr. Ohle’s research focuses on early childhood teacher’s intentional teaching and assessment practices, particularly in relation to early literacy.

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Published: 2018-11-05

How to Cite

Harvey, H., & Ohle, K. (2018). What’s the purpose? Educators’ perceptions and use of a state-mandated kindergarten entry assessment. Education Policy Analysis Archives, 26, 142. https://doi.org/10.14507/epaa.26.3877