% of kindergartners starting school on track

Santa Monica has used the Early Development Instrument (EDI) to assess the kindergarten readiness of students in our public schools since 2012. The EDI is a population-level research tool used to measure developmental change or trends among groups of children in a given area (by neighborhood, city, etc.) After teachers complete the EDI on each individual child in their class, the results are grouped together to give a snapshot of the level of kindergarten readiness in our community. The average EDI scores for each developmental area (Physical Health and Well-Being, Social Competence, Emotional Maturity, Language and Cognitive Development, and Communication Skills and General Knowledge) are divided into three categories—on track, at risk, and vulnerable.
“On track” represents children who are meeting age-appropriate developmental expectations (between 25th-100th percentile of the national comparison population), and are expected to continue to be successful in school. “At risk” represents the total group of children who score between the lowest 10th and 25th percentiles of the distribution.  This represents a group of children who are not in the “vulnerable” range at the time of the EDI assessment, but whose scores are still lower than expected for children at that age. They are therefore called “at risk” for continuing on the low achievement and health trajectory. The “vulnerable” category describes children who score below the 10th percentile cut-off of the comparison population. These children are most vulnerable for problems in later childhood, including continued struggles in school.

Moving from at risk to on track

During the six years that SMMUSD has assessed kindergarten readiness, there has been a steady increase in the percentage of children who are “on track” in all domains each year. The percentage of children who are “at risk” has also slowly decreased.

Vulnerable student levels remain persistent

Despite our success with at-risk students, we remain concerned regarding the percentage of “vulnerable” children, which, while relatively low, has remained consistent across years. Our goal is to better understand and work to break down barriers to success for these children and their families, so that all Santa Monica children enter kindergarten with the best opportunity to succeed.