Academic journal article Phi Delta Kappan

Is Kindergarten the New 1st Grade?

Academic journal article Phi Delta Kappan

Is Kindergarten the New 1st Grade?

Article excerpt

Kindergarten teachers in 2010 had much higher expectations of their students than in 1998, and their classrooms have become similar to 1stgrade classes from the 1990s, according to a study published in AERA Open in January.

"Young children's first experiences in school are quite different today than they were in the late '90s," said study coauthor Daphna Bassok. "These changes likely have important implications for children's learning trajectories.

"We were surprised to see just how drastic the changes have been over a short period of time," added Bassok. "We expected to see changes on some of these dimensions but not nearly so systematically and not nearly of this magnitude."

Teachers in 2010 were much more likely to believe academic instruction should begin before kindergarten, and there was an increase in the number of teachers who believed students should know the alphabet and how to use a pencil before beginning kindergarten, both of which rose by 33%.

Teachers in 2010 were also significantly more likely to think students should leave kindergarten knowing how to read. In 1998, 31% of teachers believed their students should learn to read in kindergarten, while in 2010 that figure jumped to 80%. …

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