11 percent of Wisconsin kindergarteners not set to readEleven percent of Wisconsin kindergarten students aren't ready for classroom reading lessons, according to statewide test results.
By: The Associated Press, Superior Telegram
MADISON, Wis. (AP) — Eleven percent of Wisconsin kindergarten students aren't ready for classroom reading lessons, according to statewide test results.
The Phonological Awareness Literacy Screening, or PALS test, was administered for the first time statewide last fall. The Wisconsin State Journal obtained the results under the state's Open Records Law and reported them Monday.
The results weren't published because the test is meant to help classroom teachers and not to compare students, said Department of Public Instruction spokesman Patrick Gasper.
The test's main purpose is to identify students who struggle with certain literacy fundamentals and need intervention, Gasper said. Teachers can use the results to tailor their reading instruction, he said.
"A child not meeting the benchmark could be (a sign of) inadequate experience with literacy, a special education need, or it could be general slow development," said Beth Graue, a UW-Madison education professor and expert on early childhood education.
Statewide, the test determined that about 89 percent of kindergarten students have the early literacy skills needed to learn to read. Those skills include recognizing letters and letter sounds.
Kindergarteners are now taking a spring version of the test. Districts also had the option to administer a mid-year version of the test in the winter.
Gov. Scott Walker has proposed $2.8 million in his biennial budget to add the test in grades 1 and 2 and 4-year-old kindergarten starting in fall 2014.
Results also varied among the state's more than 400 school districts. In 34 smaller districts, all students met the benchmark, while in one district half of the 18 kindergartners who took the test showed a need for extra help. Among large districts, Racine had the smallest percentage of students meeting the benchmark at 74 percent.
Information from: Wisconsin State Journal, http://www.madison.com/wsj.