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Study of California's transitional kindergarten program: Report on the first year of implementation

In 2010, Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger signed the Kindergarten Readiness Act (Senate Bill [S.B.] 1381) into law. The law changed the date by which children must turn 5 to enter kindergarten from December 2 to September 1, phasing in the new age requirement by moving the cutoff date back one month per year for three years, beginning in fall 2012. S.B. 1381 also established a new grade level--transitional kindergarten (TK)--which is the first year of a two-year kindergarten experience for students born between September 2 and December 2. When fully implemented, TK is intended to provide an additional year of early education to this group of children, with the goal of promoting their school readiness. With the support of the Heising-Simons Foundation and the David and Lucile Packard Foundation, American Institutes for Research (AIR) conducted an investigation of the planning and implementation of TK in the 2012-13 school year. The study addressed the following broad research questions: 1. What was the landscape of TK programs in California in the program's first year? 2. How did districts and schools plan for, structure, and support their TK programs? 3. How was TK implemented at the classroom level, and how did TK differ from kindergarten? 4. Are districts using TK as an opportunity to build greater articulation between preschool and grades K-3? If so, how? 5. What were the challenges and lessons learned in planning for and implementing TK? To address these questions and the complexities of the implementation of a statewide policy initiative, AIR conducted a mixed-methods study examining these issues at multiple levels of the system. Data collection strategies included surveys of district administrators (both a short-form census survey and a longer survey for a sample of districts), principals, and TK and kindergarten teachers; classroom observations; case study interviews; and parent focus groups. (author abstract)
Resource Type:
Reports & Papers
United States

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