Panel Paper: Children’s Knowledge and Skills at Kindergarten Entry in Illinois: Results from the First Illinois Statewide Administration of the Kindergarten Individual Development Survey

Thursday, November 7, 2019
Plaza Building: Concourse Level, Governor's Square 12 (Sheraton Denver Downtown)

*Names in bold indicate Presenter

Jill Bowdon1, Katie Dahlke2, Rui Yang2, Jingtong Pan2, Jill Marcus3 and Camille Lemieux3, (1)Midwest Regional Educational Laboratory, (2)American Institutes for Research, (3)Education Development Center

Background: Starting in fall 2017, the Illinois State Board of Education required that kindergarten teachers report data on each child’s skills at school entry using a kindergarten entry assessment called the Kindergarten Individual Development Survey. To collect data, Illinois kindergarten teachers observed each child during the first 40 days of instruction, interviewed the child’s family or other school staff as necessary, and gathered artifacts of the child’s work. On the basis of these data, teachers then selected one of six developmental levels for each of the 14 required items. The data resulting from the 2017 Kindergarten Individual Development Survey included observations on 125,800 children in 6,275 classrooms, 2,077 schools, and 745 districts.

Research Questions: This study addressed the following three sets of research questions:


  1. Do the data resulting from the Kindergarten Individual Development Survey measure the developmental domains hypothesized by the developers?
  2. Are the identified measures valid across subgroups?


  1. What level of knowledge and skills do Illinois children have at kindergarten entry, on average, and how much do their skill levels vary?
  2. Are there differences in children’s knowledge and skills at kindergarten entry between key subgroups defined by race, gender, English language learner status, eligibility for an individualized education program, and eligibility for free and reduced-price lunch?
  3. Is there an association between children’s knowledge and skills at kindergarten entry and the concentration of children from low-income families in the school? Does this association exist, controlling for other student child-level characteristics?


  1. In this first year of statewide data collection for the Kindergarten Individual Development Survey, what obstacles did a purposive sample of teachers and principals identify related to administration?
  2. In this first year of the statewide data collection for the Kindergarten Individual Development Survey, what suggestions do teachers and principals have for improving data collection?

Data and Methods: Data sources included the following: (a) teacher ratings of children’s skills on the fall 2017 Kindergarten Individual Development Survey, (b) child demographic data from the Illinois State Board of Education, (c) information on percentage of students eligible for free or reduced-price lunch from the federal Common Core of Data, and (d) interview data from a sample of nine kindergarten teachers and nine principals. The study team analyzed the quantitative data using psychometric analyses and multilevel modeling. The study team analyzed data from nine teachers and nine school principals in Illinois schools by coding interview transcripts for themes that emerged from the data and that were found in literature.

Findings: Findings are embargoed by the Institute of Education Sciences until the study is published in September 2019. The study team will be able to present the findings at the conference. Results from this study have several implications for the state and local districts, including how to improve the process of generating and using data.