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Pre-K Check-in

Early Learning Transition Check-In:
A Collaborative Engagement with Community

Early Learning Transition Check-In: A Collaborative Engagement with Community

The Oregon Department of Education (ODE) and Oregon Early Learning Division (ELD) are collaborating with communities across the state to redesign the Oregon Kindergarten Assessment (OKA). The redesigned tool will support anti-racist practices and a whole-child approach, fostering a safe and supportive environment in which Oregon’s young children and families can learn and thrive. 

On May 19, ODE and ELD presented the initial plan for developing a redesigned tool, “Early Learning Transition Check-In: A Collaborative Engagement with Community,” to the Oregon State Board of Education.  

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the OKA was suspended by the State Board of Education from fall 2020 to 2021. The OKA was previously given each fall to entering kindergartners to assess three core areas of learning and development: early literacy, early math and interpersonal/self-regulation skills. The delay presented ODE and ELD with an opportunity to redesign the tool with Oregon communities. Together, we can develop a reimagined tool that is meaningful and supportive of Oregon children, families, and educators.

ODE and ELD are collaborating with an advisory panel to redesign the assessment tool.The advisory panel consists of early educators, kindergarten educators, early learning system partners, and researchers. With guidance from an advisory panel, ODE and ELD developed the below purpose, goals, and timeline. 

Panel Composition

The 2022-2024 panel is composed of kindergarten and preschool educators, early learning directors, and researchers with expertise in early learning assessment practices. Oregon Department of Education (ODE)’s selection process ensured that panel members have:

  • A strong equity lens
  • Represent Oregon’s diverse communities, including those who identify as Black, Indigenous, Latino/a/x and other people of color
  • Represent different regions around the state
  • Have experience delivering the Kindergarten Assessment and/or have used the Kindergarten Assessment data to inform classroom practices and educational systems

Project Purpose

The redesigned “Kindergarten Assessment” will collect a statewide snapshot of data about children and families as they begin kindergarten. The primary purpose will be to inform state-level decisions about Oregon’s early learning and care sector. The redesigned components will also meaningfully support families in building relationships with their kindergarten educators by inviting them to share about their experiences before kindergarten.

Project Goals

  • Incorporate anti-racist practices in assessment approach
  • Elevate community voice in assessment design 
  • Strengthen connections between families and educators
  • Inform early learning and care programs, practices, and policies
  • Improve efforts to meet the needs of Oregon children and families

Project Timeline

Throughout the redesign process, ODE and ELD will be guided by the voices of Oregon families and educators, the Advisory Panel, and research.

May and June 2022
Host family listening sessions to gather initial feedback on the interview questions. Families of color and families with children experiencing disabilities are prioritized. All families participating are compensated for their participation.

July and August 2022
Create training and professional learning materials to guide educators and school staff. Revise materials throughout redesign.

September 2022
Begin initial testing the family interview component of the redesign with five to 10 schools across the state, intentionally engaging with families from culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds and families of students experiencing disabilities.

September 2023
Host community engagement opportunities for feedback on redesign components, which will inform revisions prior to field testing. Conduct a statewide field test of family interview. 

September 2024
Implement the family interview component of the redesign statewide; conduct community engagement to identify and inform the addition of additional components. 

September 2025
Field test any additional components of the redesign statewide. 

September 2026
Implement all components of the redesign statewide. 

Family Listening Sessions

In May and June of 2022, ODE and ELD staff conducted Family Listening Sessions with a small number of families to gain initial feedback on the interview questions and process. The purpose of these family listening sessions was to ask families if the questions created were clear and meaningful, if the process was welcoming and easy to conduct, and if they would recommend any changes to improve the questions or the experience. In June of 2022, ODE and ELD staff also consulted on the family interview with the project’s Advisory Panel. The Advisory Panel includes early educators, kindergarten educators, early learning system partners, and researchers. ODE and ELD is revising the family interview design based on feedback from the family listening sessions and from the Advisory Panel. The revised version will be used during a Fall 2022 Pilot to try out the new tool with a larger number of kindergarten educators and families.

For more information, ready the summary below.

Email to learn more.