December 17, 2004
New Mexico Public Education Department
300 Don Gaspar
Santa Fe, NM 87501-2786

Jennifer Chavez
Public Information Officer
(505) 476-0393

Literacy on the Rise: Full Day Kindergarten Works

(Santa Fe, NM)--The New Mexico Public Education Department (PED) has the results from the Dynamic Indicators of Basic Early Literacy Skills (DIBELS) assessment that was administered three times, fall, winter and spring, during the '03-'04 school year to a majority of New Mexico's Kindergarten students. The DIBELS measures provide educators with powerful data that identifies students that have met established benchmarks for reading success and students that are at "some risk" or seriously "at risk" for reading difficulties.

Secretary Veronica C. García said, “The data clearly indicates that full day kindergarten is working. We are preparing our students for a lifelong commitment to reading. The results tell us that even the most disadvantaged children can overcome the barriers to reading with consistent support from their teachers in an all day kindergarten program. ”

§ At risk/high deficit: These students are making less than adequate progress on critical skills and are at high risk for later reading difficulty.

§ Some risk/emerging: These students have not yet reached the benchmark goal on DIBELS measures and are likely to need additional instructional support.

§ Low risk/Established: These students are making adequate progress and are benefiting from the current instructional program. They have met or exceeded the established benchmark on DIBELS measure.

Beginning school year 2003-2004, the DIBELS replaced the State Transitional Reading Test as the Full-Day Kindergarten Program assessment instrument. The DIBELS are reliable and valid indicators of early literacy development and predictive of later reading proficiency. The DIBELS assessment helps educators identify early students who are not progressing as expected.

The full report is available from the Instructional Support Division of the PED, however in summary the data shows:

§ 38% of students entered full-day kindergarten in the fall of 2003 meeting the required Letter Naming Fluency benchmark for reading success. By the end of kindergarten, the percent increased to 55%, indicating that 55% of full-day kindergarten students in New Mexico are likely to become successful readers.

§ Phoneme Segmentation Fluency is a measure of phonemic awareness and the data indicated that 48 % of full-day kindergarten students met the winter benchmark. By spring, the percent had increased to 59%.

§ Nonsense Word Fluency is a measure of phonics skills. 51% of full day kindergarten students met the winter benchmark for NWF, by spring, 58% of students in New Mexico were on track for reading success as indicated by this measure.

Secretary Veronica C. García said, “New Mexico’s goal is for 100% of the students to reach the established benchmarks to become proficient readers by the end of third grade. These baseline data will provide the starting point to demonstrate student growth in full-day kindergarten programs from year to year using a measure that gives powerful data predictive of reading success for each student.”