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Mathmatical Thinking

Teacher Knowledge - Foundational Concepts

Historical Background

Florida has made substantial progress in meeting its goal that all children should be performing at or above grade level in reading and mathematics by the end of third grade. To meet the goal of 100% literacy and numeracy, we must strengthen our foundational programs in reading and mathematics provided to children during their “first five years of formal schooling;” beginning with VPK through third grade. In order to focus on these “first five years of formal schooling,” in 2008, the Department of Education created a “Next Generation” initiative called Bright Beginnings. The Bright Beginnings initiative built upon the “lessons learned” from response to instruction/intervention models, such as Reading First, that provide high quality initial instruction and appropriate interventions for struggling students. The development of The Florida VPK Assessment was one product of the Bright Beginnings initiative.

It was determined by the Department that the Florida VPK Assessment would be designed to: reflect current research on emergent literacy and numeracy; align with the VPK Education Standards; predict student performance on the Florida Assessments for Instruction in Reading for Kindergarten; and provide teacher’s with valid and reliable feedback regarding children’s progress in attaining these specific skills so that teachers may use this information to customize instruction to meet the needs of each child.  In 2008, the Department of Education awarded a grant to the Florida Center for Reading Research, Florida State University for the purpose of creating these measures. 

A VPK Assessment workgroup was convened on August 7, 2008, and in January 28, 2009, to provide information on this Department initiative and on status of the development of the VPK. Additional presentations and information have been made available. (Please visit http://www.fldoe.org/earlylearning/ for more information).

During the 2009-10 school year, the Florida VPK Assessment was field tested across the State of Florida.  A total of 451 VPK providers were identified through a random sampling process that pulled from the entire population of VPK providers throughout the state. These 451 VPK providers were invited to participate in the field test; however, the initial response rate was lower than anticipated.  As a result, additional VPK providers (public and non-public) were invited, by geographic region, to participate in the field test.

A total of 185 public and non-public school VPK teachers from across the state volunteered to participate in the VPK Assessment field test. The field test was a structured opportunity for researchers to conduct a “trial run” of the assessment measures they had developed. This process allowed participants to use the assessment materials in their own environments.  The purpose of the field test was to determine the viability of the materials and to collect data to establish a sample that represented the state.  In this case, the public and non-public school VPK teachers administered the VPK Assessment measures and provided feedback about the materials. The information gathered from the teachers was incorporated into the development of the final assessment materials and related training opportunities.