Kindergarten Readiness


Children Enter Kindergarten Ready to Succeed in School

Early childhood is a time of remarkable growth and rapid transformation. Children who are ready for kindergarten are twice as likely as those who are not to complete middle school with strong academic and social skills. This trend is evident in Baltimore City, where a longitudinal study demonstrated that public school students who entered school ready to learn in kindergarten continued to achieve well into 6th grade compared to their peers who were still developing.

Key Metrics

Percentage demonstrating readiness

Our key metric for measuring progress in this area is the percentage of students demonstrating readiness on the Kindergarten Readiness Assessment. During the 2015-2016 school year, teachers rated 42% of students in Baltimore City as demonstrating readiness.


As part of its initial charge, the Kindergarten Readiness work group sought to examine the impact early childhood programs have on a student’s readiness for kindergarten. This includes identifying opportunities to increase the number of children served by high-quality early childhood programs in Baltimore City.


The Kindergarten Readiness work group put forth the below set of initial, strategic recommendations to move the needle on our key indicator for this outcome. The group monitored the following progress to date:


Focus on human capital: Explore opportunities to create a system of quality professional development and training, including expanding the number of high-quality professionals available in early education and increasing access to and engagement of informal care providers to improve their quality/encourage them to become licensed.

Progress to Date: The Quality Early Education action team focused on understanding the challenges associated with the recruitment and retention of quality early childhood education program staff, identifying opportunities to align with the state’s Master Plan for Professional Development, and potential mechanisms to improve outreach to informal care providers. As a result of this work:

  • The Greater Baltimore Committee has agreed to add issues regarding early childhood education, including the Adequacy Study, to its “Reconnecting Baltimore” advocacy agenda;
  • The Maryland Family Network will soon launch a pilot, informed by the state’s Professional Development Master Plan, in which a cohort of 20 participants are supported through successful completion of the Child Development Associate (CDA) credential;
  • The Office of Child Care at the Maryland State Department of Education (MDSE) is working on a process for distributing lists of informal providers in each Judy Center’s catchment area to facilitate outreach and begin linking informal providers to available training and technical assistance; and
  • The team is working to support Baltimore City Public Schools (BCPS) in following MSDE’s recent guidelines around aligning the high school childcare career, technical, education pathway with the CDA.


Explore opportunities to expand the number of seats/slots available across all early childhood programs, including expanding the slots to full-day/full-year opportunities.

Progress to Date: The Early Education Program Quantity action team gathered and analyzed data associated with the enrollment, capacity, and distribution of early childhood education program seats. As a result of this work:

  • The Family League of Baltimore (FLB) is piloting out-of-school time (OST) programming for 40 pre-k students at two BCPS sites in the 2016–17 school year. If this pilot is successful, then the FLB will expand its OST grants to include pre-k seats in the 2017–18 school year.
  • The Head Start Collaborative successfully raised funds for 927 programming seats for Summer 2016 across the four programs, resulting in an increase of 141 seats from Summer 2015.
  • BCPS and the Family Literacy Coalition piloted outreach to families in three targeted neighborhoods with low pre-k enrollment to increase utilization for the 2016–17 school year and identify best practices to improve enrollment.


Focus on coordination: Improve data quality, collection, and sharing to improve service delivery, coordination, and outcomes.

Progress to Date:

  • The Family Literacy Coalition is conducting a pilot to identify best practices associated with transitioning children from early childhood education programs to eight BCPS elementary schools.
  • The Early Education Data Collaborative, under the leadership of Baltimore Education Research Consortium, continues to release reports that describe the experience of Baltimore’s babies as they grow up in the city and enter school.

Early Childhood Program Participation

Participation in early childhood education programs plays a key role in helping to prepare students for kindergarten. In the 2014-2015 school year, Baltimore City Public Schools began using the Kindergarten Readiness Assessment (KRA) and discontinued the Maryland Model of School Readiness (MMSR). The KRA is designed to measure school readiness, with the results ranked on an ordinal scale of Emerging (minimally prepared), Approaching (somewhat prepared), and Demonstrating (fully prepared). Students who are identified as Demonstrating are deemed ready for kindergarten, while those identified as Emerging or Approaching are then matched with instructional support.

According to data from the Fall 2015 assessment, 5% more kindergarteners from Baltimore City were identified as Emerging compared to the statewide rate.

Students Demonstrating Kindergarten Readiness Based on KRA Results, 2015-2016

(Baltimore City & Maryland)

Students Demonstrating Kindergarten Readiness Based on KRA Results, 2015-2016

Female kindergarteners at both state and city levels were more likely to demonstrate readiness than their male classmates. Black and Hispanic kindergarteners were also less likely to demonstrate readiness than other racial/ethnic groups.

Students by Gender and Race/Ethnicity Who Demonstrated Kindergarten Readiness, 2015-2016

(Baltimore City & Maryland)

Students by Gender and Race/Ethnicity Who Demonstrated Kindergarten Readiness, 2015-2016

The data showed that students with disabilities, those who received English language learning services, and those from lower-income households demonstrated readiness less frequently than their peers.


Students in Special Services or Economic Disadvantage who Demonstrated Kindergarten Readiness, 2015 - 2016

Students by Prior Care Setting Who Demonstrated Kindergarten Readiness, 2015-2016

(Baltimore City & Maryland)

Students by Prior Care Setting Who Demonstrated Kindergarten Readiness, 2015-2016

Our most recent MMSR and long-term assessment results have been retained here for archival purposes.

2011-2014 MMSR: Assessment Results

(Baltimore City & Maryland)


Reading Performance for Students who Started Kindergarten in 2007*

(First through Sixth Grade)

Reading Performance for Students who Started Kindergarten in 2007

Math Performance for Students who Started Kindergarten in 2007*

(First through Sixth Grade)


*Gauge readiness based on MMSR assessment