SAM uses a cradle-to-career approach to maximizing the impact our county-wide educational systems have along a student's Roadmap to Success. Along this pathway are natural evaluation points, also called core indicators, where we can measure individual progress and capture the county-wide perspective of how we, as a community, are strengthening the foundation upon which our children prepare for lifelong success. The indicator areas we track, are points at which assessment tools are available and utilized at local, state, and national levels: Kindergarten Readiness, Early Grades Reading, Middle Grades Math, College/Career Ready High School Graduation, Post-Secondary Enrollment, and Post-Secondary Persistence/Completion.
"Readiness for kindergarten success starts in the womb," Ida Thompson
The Early Development Instrument (EDI) has provided the first ever, county-wide measurement of children's readiness for kindergarten. SAM's 2018 EDI Report outlines the data. SAM staff are available to coordinate EDI data review sessions to empower those joining SAM in action to ensure that all Spartanburg County children are ready for...
This is the first and arguably the most critical of the Six stages of learning for which SAM sets targets for improvement.
Setting targets for improving school readiness poses a challenge where there is little consensus about what to measure and when. However, identifying what a child needs to be able to enter school ready to absorb, retain, and utilize all the resources schools provides is essential.
There is important movement toward consensus in South Carolina, and Spartanburg County is helping to lead the way. The Mary Black Foundation, a catalyst for informed local and statewide early childhood action, anchors SAM’s “Kindergarten Success Collaborative Action Network," known as KSCAN. The group's efforts are affecting the development of new learning environments, connecting updated quality assessments to early education centers preparing children for kindergarten, and reaching into the structure of our statewide educational system, its function, oversight, and effectiveness to ensure the success of each child.
Team members soon realized that ensuring readiness meant measuring success within the first stage of introduction to the formal educational system: kindergarten. However, consensus regarding what to measure, why, how, and when has not been made on a statewide level and thus, a developmentally appropriate tool needed to be determined.
In May, 2018, the first view of county-wide kindergarten readiness was revealed as a result of a multi-year SAM effort. In 2017, SAM piloted the use of the Early Development Instrument (EDI) as a measurement tool for kindergarten readiness with strategic assistance provided by one local school district. This tool was identified by the Kindergarten Success Collaborative Action Network (KSCAN).
To deploy Continuous Improvement (CI) science to identify needs in the outcome area of kindergarten readiness, finding a place to start was essential. CI begins with data analysis. The realization that no data baseline for kindergarten readiness was available gave immediate direction to the KSCAN work. Research pointed to the Early Development Instrument (EDI). The tool, first developed in Canada and now used nationwide there and in Australia, is also used in multiple US cities. It measures kindergarten readiness across five key domains: physical health and well-being, social competence, emotional maturity, language and cognitive development, and communication and general knowledge. The key to this assessment is that it is not a measure of the school system, rather, it is a measure of how well all the systems supporting early care and education of our children are working together to help prepare our youngest citizens for success.
With our partners, we continue to focus efforts and advocacy to reduce vulnerabilities through: