More Minnesota Children Ready for Kindergarten Than Ever Before

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: December 11, 2013
Josh Collins, 651-582-8205,

More Minnesota Children Ready for Kindergarten Than Ever Before

72.8 percent of students prepared to succeed in school, according to data released by Department of Education today

ROSEVILLE – Today the Minnesota Department of Education (MDE) released the findings of their annual study of kindergarten readiness, showing that more Minnesota children entering kindergarten are prepared for success since the inception of the study in 2002. In fact, almost three quarters (72.8 percent) of children were determined to be ready for kindergarten, up from 60 percent in 2010. A child who is found to be ready for kindergarten is considered on track for meeting achievement targets on the third grade Minnesota Comprehensive Assessments.

Kindergartners demonstrated increased proficiency over previous years in all five learning domains of school readiness, including physical development, the arts, personal and social development, language and literacy, and mathematical thinking.

Each year MDE assesses the school readiness of Minnesota’s children during the first eight weeks of kindergarten by classroom teachers with a statewide representative sample of children entering kindergarten. The method uses a 75 percent proficiency target on all five learning domains of school readiness to establish a statewide percentage of fully prepared kindergartners. This research method was validated in 2010 by the Human Capital Research Collaborative, a partnership of the University of Minnesota and the Federal Reserve Bank of Minnesota.

“Students who have access to high quality early learning are more likely to start school fully prepared and then stay on track academically,” said Education Commissioner Brenda Cassellius. “Our focus has been on widening access to high quality early learning for all kids and aligning those programs with schools. Today’s announcement shows that more students are benefiting—and will continue to benefit—from our approach and the investments we are making.”

Children from disadvantaged backgrounds were less likely to be fully prepared for kindergarten than their more advantaged peers, a finding that is echoed in the first School Readiness Report Card, released by the Wilder Foundation in November.

Governor Mark Dayton and the 2013 Legislature approved $40 million in scholarships for families to access high quality, Parent Aware-rated early learning programs this biennium, along with statewide full-day kindergarten that will begin in 2014. These initiatives are expected to have a positive impact on kindergarten readiness and early learning success in years to come.

For the complete Minnesota School Readiness Study: Developmental Assessment at Kindergarten Entrance Fall 2012, visit the Minnesota Department of Education website at Download the study here.