The results section for the School Readiness Report Card uses available data to describe educational outcomes that research shows can be directly affected by strengthening early childhood development programs. These indicators represent important milestones that, when met, facilitate students’ successful navigation through the K-12 public school system. All of these data were provided by the Virginia Department of Education, which collects and reports this information as part of the K-12 accountability system.
The data that are available are extremely limited. Most indicators are not specific outcomes connected with any of the early childhood programs currently in place. Therefore, while these results are informative and provide the best information currently available statewide, they should be viewed as a starting point, perhaps more of a pointer to areas where more work needs to be done and more information is needed to ensure that effective programs are in place.
What is missing are child indicators associated with most taxpayer-funded early childhood programs, comprehensive information – beyond early literacy skills – by which we can gauge children’s kindergarten readiness, and information about long-term ability to sustain gains made in the early years. All of this information would be useful for making wise investments – to inform and guide early learning efforts.