Although the percentage of students in Kentucky deemed ready for kindergarten remained about the same compared with last year, about 24,500 students in the state entered kindergarten unprepared, according to results from a statewide readiness test.
Kentucky teachers gave the BRIGANCE K Screener to 49,089 kindergarten students in all 173 school districts at the beginning of the 2013-14 and 2014-15 school years.
Gov. Steve Beshear announced this week that half of students who started kindergarten in 2014-15 showed that they were prepared, based on the screener. That is up from 49 percent in 2013-14.
As part of the screening, students are asked their name and age, to recite the alphabet, and to count to 30, among other tasks.
The number of students ready for kindergarten in Fayette County has remained steady the last two years at just over 52 percent, according to data on the Kentucky Department of Education website.
"While we are moving in the right direction, this data reinforces the importance of quality early learning opportunities for all children," Beshear said in a news release. "Our youngest learners start out with a sound foundation on which to build. When they don't, they often struggle to catch up with their peers, only to graduate unprepared for college, career or to be a productive member of society."
Education Commissioner Terry Holliday said that performing at a certain level on the screener is not a requirement for entering kindergarten. "Rather, it gives our teachers a tool, so they can meet children where they are instructionally and provides a way to determine when interventions may need to begin early to ensure students get on track and stay on track for success."