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Ore. Achievement Gaps Evident By Kindergarten

Oregon officials published assessment results Friday for the state’s youngest students. The results show that achievement gaps are evident by kindergarten.

Backpacks on the first day of school in 2013.

Backpacks on the first day of school in 2013.

Rebecca Roberts Galloway/OPB

The new kindergarten assessment finds significant gaps in kids’ early literacy skills, especially when it comes to the youngsters’ knowledge of letter sounds.

White kindergarteners, on average, can correctly express about eight letter sounds. Asian students got more than twelve sounds right. African-American students were lower than both those, but not as low as Hispanic students, who knew about three letter sounds, on average.

Early gaps are no surprise to school districts that have done assessments for years, like Beaverton.

“There are wide range(s) of skills that youngsters bring into kindergarten,” said Maureen Wheeler, a Beaverton district spokeswoman. “We’re able to work with a lot of them, and what we really want them to be is reading at third grade.”

Kindergarteners of different ethnicities have smaller gaps on the early math test.

The new assessment also includes a behavior section where teachers rate youngsters on a five-point scale.

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