Classroom teachers at the primary level assess students using a measurement called DIBLES, or Dynamic Indicators of Basic Early Literacy Skills. In recent K -2 testing of Orcas Island School District primary grade students, the kindergarten scored the highest.
“Research shows that students who are proficient in the skills measured by DIBLES have the basic skills needed to become good readers. We use this assessment to track student progress and to modify classroom instruction,” said Tom Gobeske, Orcas Elementary School Principal.
Each assessment takes one to five minutes per child, and are administered one-on-one by the teacher during a half-day, when a substitute is teaching the rest of the class.
“The kindergarten classes are our highest performing group [in the testing],” said Gobeske.
“The full day kindergarten is having a definite and positive affect,” said Orcas Island School District Board President Janet Brownell.
Kindergarten teacher Pam Jenkins said, “The results are a strong indicator of the ease with which the children move to reading. We’re seeing increased numbers of kids reading and writing at a level we’re not accustomed to – lots of the kids have reached goals that were to be met by the end of the year. Full day kindergarten is making a difference.”
Brownell expressed appreciation for the community donations that enabled the school district to offer full-day kindergarten. “It shows in a quantitative way the affect community donations have on the kids,” said Brownell. “It’s worth it on an economic level, and on an educational level.”