Kindergarten Entry Profile (KEP)

What is the KEP?

The Kindergarten Entry Profile (KEP) Initiative is a voluntary standards-based assessment system (i.e., based on the Early Childhood Indicators of Progress, also known as the ECIPs). KEP honors local control by offering districts/charter schools a menu of comprehensive, developmentally appropriate assessments that help teachers and administrators understand what students know and are able to do at the start of kindergarten (as well as throughout the entire kindergarten year) to support their success in kindergarten and beyond.

What is the Purpose of the KEP?

The purpose of the KEP Initiative is to provide teachers and administrators with meaningful data about their students’ learning that can be used to: (1) measure what children know and are able to do at the beginning of kindergarten; (2) tailor instruction based on each student's strengths and areas of growth; and, (3) inform decisions about practice and programming so that schools are ready to support the success of all kindergarteners. Districts may also rely on the KEP to provide data for their World’s Best Workforce Goal #1, “All children are ready for school.”

Why is MDE Supporting KEP-Approved Assessments?

Each of the KEP-approved assessments underwent a rigorous review to ensure that they are: (1) valid and reliable for use with kindergartners; (2) aligned with the Early Childhood Indicators of Progress (ECIP) and Kindergarten Academic Standards; (3) represent a whole-child view of development and education; (4) provide real-time formative data that can be used to individualize instruction; and, (5) rely on authentic assessment. A teacher using one of the KEP-approved assessments will typically record their observations one to four times a year. Collecting information on children’s learning at multiple points during the year allows teachers to use data to inform their instruction throughout the year.

The Importance of Developmentally Appropriate (i.e., Authentic) Assessment

The use of authentic assessment provides teachers with multiple opportunities over an 8-10 week period to observe students demonstrating their knowledge and skills within their regular educational routine. Young children, including kindergartners, are often unable to produce a skill “on demand,” which underscores the importance of providing students with multiple opportunities to demonstrate a skill or knowledge. Observations made by teachers can (and should) be supported with work samples, photographs, and videos to build a more complete profile of a child’s development. Authentic assessment also allows students to demonstrate skills verbally and nonverbally, which can be important for English learners and students who have significant delays or disabilities. Additionally, many child development and assessment experts also view authentic assessment as a more culturally and linguistically affirming way to assess students (compared to direct assessment, where a teacher or other educators pulls a student aside to ask them questions).

KEP Assessments Produce Data that Can Be Used To:

  • provide teachers and other educators with a holistic view of a child’s strengths and areas of growth based on their own unique identities, experiences, and development;
  • inform practice and programming (e.g., instruction, lesson plans, curriculum, resources and supports);
  • build coherence in prekindergarten through grade three (P3)  teaching and learning (e.g., strengthening transitions to kindergarten and professional development); and
  • guide efforts to close the achievement gap or prevent one from opening (i.e., reporting on a district/charter school’s World’s Best Workforce Goal #1, "All children are ready for school").

Participating in the KEP and Using a KEP-Approved Assessment Does Not:

  • produce data that indicates whether a child is “ready or not ready” for kindergarten;
  • produce data that should be used to make high stakes decisions about children, teachers or programs;
  • require changes in curricula; nor
  • require teachers to alter their instruction in order to assess their students (i.e., pulling students aside and asking them to perform certain tasks).

How Does the KEP Work?

  • Participation is voluntary (all or some schools or teachers can participate).
  • Participants select one of the four KEP-approved assessments.
  • Minnesota Department of Education (MDE) covers the cost of the assessment (participants get access to the assessment for the full school year).
  • Teachers and administrators attend a free training on their KEP-approved assessment.
  • Teachers collect (and enter) data on their students during the first 8-10 weeks of school.
  • Participating districts provide MDE with their fall (or kindergarten entrance) data.
  • MDE provides participants with a profile, in January, that shows what portion of students are meeting or exceeding age expectations for each of the eight domains of learning.

KEP-Approved Assessments:

  • COR Advantage: produced by High Scope
  • Desired Results Developmental Profile – Kindergarten: (DRDP-K), Comprehensive View, published by WestEd and the California Department of Education
  • GOLD, published by Teaching Strategies
  • Work Sampling System - Kindergarten (WSS-K), published by Pearson

KEP-Approved Assessments for Use with Children Prior to Kindergarten or After Kindergarten

Although the KEP-approved assessments listed on this page are for use with kindergarten students, each assessment (or another version of the assessment) is appropriate for use with children prior to kindergarten entry. Using KEP-approved assessments across prekindergarten and kindergarten can provide rich information to help schools, families and communities facilitate smooth transitions to kindergarten.

If you are interested in using a KEP-approved assessment with ages/grades before or after kindergarten, please visit MDE’s Early Childhood Assessment Resources webpage or email mde.kep@state.mn.us to learn more.


Transforming the School Readiness Study into the KEP Initiative Report

This Transforming the School Readiness Study into the KEP Initiative report provides an overview of how and why MDE successfully developed a new, innovative, standards-based assessment model that honors local control. This report also reflects on the lessons learned from the first four years of the KEP as well as recommendations for the initiative moving forward.

To Learn More about the KEP

To learn more about the KEP, please email mde.kep@state.mn.us or call 651-582-8700.