Virginia’s Kindergarten Readiness Program

The Virginia Kindergarten Readiness Program (VKRP) expands the assessment of children beyond literacy (PALS), to include the school readiness domains of math, social skills, and self-regulation. The data provides school divisions with a more comprehensive understanding of how kindergarten students are entering elementary schools in terms of key readiness skills.


E3, in partnership with UVA CASTL and the Virginia Department of Education launched a multi-phased approach to creating The Virginia Kindergarten Readiness Program (VKRP), a statewide, comprehensive kindergarten assessment with the following goals:

  • Research and select an assessment tool that can be used statewide to accurately assess readiness skills across a range of domains upon kindergarten entry.
  • Test the validity of a widely-used commercial assessment, TS Gold. Researchers recommend the development of a comprehensive readiness assessment to complement the Phonological Awareness Literacy Screening (PALS), Virginia’s longstanding literacy screening tool.
  • Pilot an assessment, utilizing a $250,000 state appropriation matched 2:1 with $500,000 in private funds, to create a snapshot of Virginia’s kindergartners and clearly define the readiness gap.
  • Execute a voluntary, phased-in approach to implementing VKRP across the state and report results annually.
  • Mandate that all 132 school divisions participate in the VKRP by fall 2019, a recommendation made by JLARC and funded with $2.9m state funds through a House-led budget package in 2018.
    • 2014 – 34% of children from 16 participating districts arrive unprepared in at least one critical learning domain (literacy, math, self-regulation and social skills).
    • 2015 – 36% of students from 21 diverse divisions entered kindergarten unprepared.
    • 2016 – 40% of students from 45 school divisions entered kindergarten unprepared.
    • 2017 – 40% of students from 63 school divisions entered kindergarten unprepared.
    • 2018 – 42% of students from 89 school divisions entered kindergarten unprepared.
    • 2019 – 44% of students from ALL of Virginia’s 132 divisions were unprepared.

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