Learning Leader

Texas Kindergarten Entry Assessment: Supporting Kindergarten Instruction

In August 2018, the Children’s Learning Institute launched a new child progress monitoring tool on our CLI Engage platform for kindergarten classrooms. Available at no cost to all Texas public school districts and charter schools, the new kindergarten progress monitoring tool is an expansion of the Texas Kindergarten Entry Assessment (TX-KEA) that launched on CLI Engage in August 2017. With CLI Engage, TX-KEA is provided through an integrated delivery of assessment tools, customized reports for schools and families, teacher professional development, and classroom activities to guide differentiated instruction throughout the school year.

TX-KEA logo

TX-KEA is the result of a collaborative effort between the US Department of Education, the Texas Education Agency, and CLI to develop and validate a school readiness screener that can be reliably administered by kindergarten teachers in Texas. It covers multiple child development domains in English and Spanish, and better informs kindergarten teachers about the children in their classes, helping them to design more appropriate learning opportunities. Following four years of development and validation, more than 120 Texas school districts and charter schools implemented TX-KEA during its initial implementation in the 2017-18 school year.

During outreach events dedicated to TX-KEA’s development and implementation, CLI received one question more than any other from administrators and teachers across Texas: Will TX-KEA become a progress monitoring tool?

Through a grant from a private foundation, CLI initiated a project to expand TX-KEA’s one-time assessment into a comprehensive, three-wave kindergarten progress monitoring tool (for beginning-, middle-, and end-of-year) in Fall 2017. The research team at CLI completed assessment development, pilot/scaling study, validation study, and initial implementation during the 2017-18 school year with participation from Texas kindergarten classrooms.

With the launch of the new kindergarten progress monitoring tool on CLI Engage, TX-KEA provides two implementation options to Texas school districts and charter schools. TX-KEA is voluntary and available at no cost through CLI’s partnership with the Texas Education Agency.

  • The one-time kindergarten entry assessment covers six major domains of school readiness. Its primary purpose is to screen what children know when they enter kindergarten and inform instruction by providing teachers with children’s scores in essential areas of school readiness.
  • The three-wave kindergarten progress monitoring tool covers four learning domains and provides opportunities to learn about children’s skill development to inform instruction throughout the kindergarten year. The kindergarten entry assessment serves as the beginning-of-year measures for the progress monitoring tool.

On the CLI Engage platform, kindergarten teachers conduct TX-KEA’s student-friendly assessments, complete observable checklists, track child growth through immediate reports, and review closely-aligned small group classroom activities selected to support skill development for children not meeting the established benchmarks. Hundreds of classroom activities aligned to the kindergarten TEKS are available in English and Spanish in the CIRCLE Activity Collection, part of CLI Engage, including many with video demonstrations to guide teacher implementation. Both TX-KEA and the CIRCLE Progress Monitoring System, CLI’s pre-k assessment tool also hosted on CLI Engage, feature these customized small group reports, links to classroom activities, and opportunities to individualize support all children’s development.

CLI continues to explore opportunities to enhance the resources on CLI Engage available to the school districts and charter schools across the state, linking these tools to our state’s early childhood system. For more information about TX-KEA or to sign-up for access, please visit CLI Engage or contact us at texaskea@uth.tmc.edu.


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