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PRESS RELEASE

March 20, 2007

Cathy Schroeder
(850) 245-0413

State Board Of Education Approves Method For Calculating Kindergarten Readiness Rate Rule
~Readiness rate to measure VPK provider performance~

TALLAHASSEE – The Florida State Board of Education today approved the method for calculating Voluntary Prekindergarten (VPK) Provider Readiness Rate. Florida Kindergarten Readiness Screener (FLKRS) data will be used to calculate the readiness rate for private and public providers participating in Florida’s VPK education program. Later this spring, parents will be able to access the rate for VPK providers at https://vpk.fldoe.org/ or http://www.dcf.state.fl.us/childcare/ to make more informed decisions when choosing a program for their child.

“Florida’s education system is built on accountability at all levels” said State Board of Education Chairman T. Willard Fair. “This rate will help us identify what programs are working and those that need help. Through this, we ensure that our youngest students have access to high-quality VPK programs.”

The Readiness Rate determines what percentage of students from a VPK provider’s program are “ready” for kindergarten as measured by the screening tool. The FLKRS screening instrument includes selected measures from the Early Childhood Observation System™ (ECHOS™) and the first two measures of the Dynamic Indicators of Basic Early Literacy Skills™ (DIBELS™). Specifically, the DIBELS measures are Letter Naming Fluency and Initial Sound Fluency to gather information on a child’s development in emergent literacy.

To calculate the rate, each part of the screening tool is assigned a percentage based on the number of students ready. For example, if eight out of 10 students are ready for kindergarten on the ECHOS™, the VPK provider would receive 80 percent. The sum of all three screening results is totaled to establish the readiness rate of the VPK provider. The highest rate a provider could receive is 300 (one hundred percent for each of the three screening tools). Readiness rates are calculated for providers with a minimum of four students enrolled in the VPK program for 85 percent or more of the total instructional hours, and whose students were screened in each measure.

“We know that when students enter school ready-to-learn, they are more likely to achieve academic success throughout their academic careers,” said Education Commissioner Jeanine Blomberg. “The VPK program gives students an opportunity they may not have had otherwise.”

Once all of the readiness rates are calculated for Florida’s VPK providers, the State Board of Education will set the minimum rate to identify the top 85 percent of providers. The remaining 15 percent are at or below the minimum rate and will be considered low-performing. Low performing providers will be required to submit an improvement plan targeting areas for change including proposed actions or existing actions taken. After two years of being found low-performing, the VPK provider will be removed from the state-approved list.

The FLKRS replaced the School Readiness Uniform Screening System which previously was given to determine the readiness of students entering kindergarten. It measures VPK outcomes, that is, what students should know and be able to do by the end of the VPK program as defined by the VPK Education Standards. The VPK standards address the areas of physical health, approaches to learning, social and emotional development, language and communication, emergent literacy, cognitive development and general knowledge, and motor development.

To learn more, visit the VPK Provider Kindergarten Readiness Rate Web site https://vpk.fldoe.org/.