TSR Connect

October 11th, 2017

relevant research

The FREE Texas Kindergarten Entry Assessment (TX-KEA) has launched for the 2017-2018 school year. The assessment is the culmination of five years of research and a collaboration between the Department of Education, the Children’s Learning Institute, and the Texas Education Agency. It is on the 2017-2021 Commissioner’s list of approved Kindergarten Assessment instruments. 

The primary purpose of TX-KEA is to determine whether or not students have met specified developmental benchmarks and academic competencies as outlined by the Texas Pre-K Guidelines and TEKS.

It was designed to:

  • screen what children know and can do
  • help identify children in need of further assessment and who may require additional testing and/or services
  • help inform instruction for teachers

The data provides teachers with a thorough analysis of student knowledge entering kindergarten and includes the following measures: Vocabulary, Listening Comprehension, Letter Names, Letter Sounds, Blending, Spelling, Math, Science, Executive Function (Working Memory, Inhibition, and Attention), Social and Emotional Competence, Emotion Management, and Academic Motor Skills. The measures are quick and efficient to administer, taking between 90 seconds to six minutes depending on the sub-measure. Teachers can select which measures to assess or as determined by the school district. It is recommended to assess in the first 6-8 weeks of school, but the window for the entry assessment will remain open though the fall semester.

A TX KEA training course is available in the Online Learning & Professional Development section of your CLI Engage Dashboard (Click "Full Course Catalog" to find and enroll).

The class summary color codes student results in one of three categories: On Track (green) means the child's performance is above the cut-off score that indicates the child is developing as expected; Monitor (yellow) indicates the child's performance is approaching the cut-off score that indicates "on track" development and that these learning areas should be monitored to ensure adequate progress is being made; and lastly, Support (red) indicates the score is below the cut-off and additional assessment and/or support is recommended.

teaching tips

TX-KEA results offer teachers solid data to adjust and differentiate instructionIn the grouping tool, students who have not met benchmarks for a particular skill are automatically grouped for more targeted intervention. Recommended activities in the CIRCLE Activity Collection are then directly linked from these small group suggestions.

The activities provide detailed lessons with instructions, materials needed, annotated exemplar videos of select activities performed in real classrooms, and scripted lessons that provide guided practice and scaffolding with students. Scaffolding builds on student’s experience and knowledge as they are learning new skills.

The activities incorporate a gradual release model, wherein a teacher models, demonstrates, and “thinks aloud” so that children understand the concepts behind what the teacher is modeling. Children then practice the skills or concepts with the teacher’s guidance. This supplemental curriculum can be used to augment instruction and teach specific skills for targeted students. 

For example, a group of students showing red in the blending skill of phonological awareness can be provided small group instruction or individualized activities with greater scaffolded supports to learning.

For example, the “Fill A Row” activity aligns with TEKS ELA 1 (B) and in a playful and engaging way joins a small group to participate in matching letter names with the written letter on an alphabet bingo grid. Levels of scaffolding are provided to meet individual needs:


If a child cannot locate the letter on the bingo grid or chooses the wrong letter:

Less support: “You placed your marker on the letter __. Please put the marker on the letter __.”

More support: Point to the row where the letter appears: “The letter __ is on this row.”

Most support: Give the child a choice. Point out two letters: “Is this the letter__ or is this it?”

You can locate the complete CIRCLE Activity Collection under the Activities and Materials section of your CLI Engage dashboard. 

Having an early assessment helps teachers plan beginning of year instruction that does not reteach skills to students that are already exhibiting competence and does not neglect students that need additional supports for new learning. This approach enables teachers to plan very appropriate instruction based on what students know and need to know!

notable news

Kindergarten Assessment Expansion!

During the pre-launch year, teachers across the state asked if the TX-KEA could be utilized as a progress monitoring tool with several test administrations. This school year CLI will pilot the addition of five literacy measures that can be administered for middle-of-year (MOY) and end-of-year (EOY). Although MOY and EOY benchmarks won’t be included until final validity is captured, teachers will be able to use the data to support student learning throughout the year and examine growth.

recommended resources

CLI Engage Website

Texas School Ready Website

Children's Learning Institute Website

Infant, Toddler, and Three-Year-Old Early Learning Guidelines

Texas Prekindergarten Guidelines

Texas Early Childhood Professional Development System (TECPDS)


connect with us at:




for more information, visit us at texasschoolready.org

Children's Learning Institute at UTHealth
7000 Fannin, Suite 2300, Houston, TX 77030

© 2017 The University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston
All rights reserved.