FAQs

What is TX-KEA?

The Texas Education Agency (TEA), in collaboration with The University of Texas Health Science Center’s Children’s Learning Institute (CLI) received a research award from The US Department of Education to develop the Texas Kindergarten Entry Assessment System (TX-KEA).  Once developed, TX-KEA will be an optional tool for schools to use to screen children’s school readiness upon their entry into kindergarten.

How long is the TX-KEA Grant?

The TX-KEA Grant will take place from 2013-2017. In 2013, we began by developing testing procedures, testing materials, and test items that provide coverage of the full continuum of Kindergarten children’s knowledge and abilities in oral language, letter knowledge, phonological awareness, mathematics, science/engineering, approaches to learning, motor coordination, and executive functioning, and social-emotional competencies. We then had a small pilot during the spring of 2014, and we launched a large scaling study from 2014 to 2016. In 2016, TX-KEA and standardized norm-referenced measures will be administered to the fall to examine validity. Norm-referenced measures will be re-administered in the spring to evaluate predictive validity.

How can my school or teachers participant in TX-KEA?

We are looking for schools and teachers to join our focus group. To get more information on how to participate in a webinar or focus group, click here.

What is the goal of TX-KEA?

The goal of TX-KEA is to develop a criterion-referenced screening tool to help determine whether students meet specified academic standards and development levels. This point-in-time snapshot of each student’s competencies will inform instruction and identify whether additional instruction or diagnostic assessment is needed.

How can I join the TX-KEA mailing list?

If you would like to join the TX-KEA mailing list, please click here.  The TX-KEA research team will send information about TX-KEA and opportunities to get involved to our mailing list regularly.

TX-KEA is…

  • a comprehensive school readiness screening assessment to be given to children at the beginning of kindergarten by teachers
  • being developed in English and Spanish and will allow adaptations for children with special needs
  • designed to inform instruction
  • a web-based reporting system to help teachers make effective use of the results
  • a combination of teacher-administered direct assessments, child-paced direct assessments, and teacher surveys/observation tools
  • a system that will link data to the Texas Education Agency’s Texas Student Data System (TSDS)
  • being developed for use on several platforms and devices, including laptops and tablets
  • a time-efficient assessment that will allow assessment of all areas within 45 minutes
  • a system that will provide reports to parents, teachers, and school district personnel
  • being developed with an effective web-based training for teachers
  • one of many screening instruments that schools can choose to use at kindergarten entry

TX-KEA is NOT…

  • an intelligence test
  • a high stakes test
  • a language proficiency test
  • an assessment to evaluate the performance of kindergarten or pre-k teachers
  • a system to determine certification of early childhood programs
  • a system to replace teacher progress monitoring across the school year

Will it be available for private schools?

TX-KEA will be free to all Texas public schools.

How is this different from TPRI?

TPRI is a progress monitoring tool that measures literacy over the course of a year. TX-KEA is only an entry screener and cannot measure growth at the middle or the end of year. However, this is a long-term goal of the TX-KEA research team. TX-KEA can be used in conjunction with other assessments like the TPRI at the beginning of the year.

Will this become a state mandated assessment?

No, TX-KEA is just one of many options on the Commissioner’s list.

How many times will this assessment be administered during the school year?

TX-KEA will be administered ONCE at the beginning of the kindergarten year.

When do you expect it will be rolled out 100% and available for use by districts choosing to do so?

TX-KEA will be publicly available the 2017-2018 school year.

Who will have access to the results?

TX-KEA will provide individual reports for parents and teachers, and group reports for teachers and school administrators.

How will the Texas KEA be used with children with disabilities?

TX-KEA will be developed to be used with children with disabilities. However, it will not be validated for this population. Depending on the severity of the disability, they may not be able to complete all subtests of the screener, but they will complete some subtests to give parents and teachers information about children’s knowledge and skills in specific domains.

Could TX-KEA be used at the end of Pre-K? 

TX-KEA is being developed to be used for the beginning of the year of kindergarten. The benchmarks are not appropriate for pre-Kindergarten children.

Will TX-KEA include a way to track children back to their pre-k or child care programs? 

TX-KEA will be integrated into TEA’s longitudinal assessment system, but will not be tracked to kindergarten students’ earlier education/care programs.

Is TX-KEA timed?

Certain tests are timed, but a majority of the assessments are untimed.

How soon in the year do we have to give TX-KEA?

We recommend to give the assessment within the first 6-8 weeks of school.

Have you accounted for bias in the test items?

During our validity study, all items will go through bias and sensitivity testing. Any items that are found to favor one group over another will be removed from the item pool.