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Are children ready for school?

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Magazine "Reference manager preschool organization", November, 2015

Readiness of children for school in modern Kazakhstan is defined by quality, first of all, of preschool education. In 2014 99,6% of children have gone through obligatory preschool training.

Data from internal monitoring of preschool organizations demonstrate a high level (86%) of educational competencies acquired by children. However, according to the survey, one-third of parents attract additional services to prepare children for school. 52% of teachers of primary school note multi-level training of the first grade pupils.

According to PISA-2012 results the difference of academic success between children that attended preschool education and did not  in OECD countries equals 66 points and in Kazakhstan it is 32 (52% less). Thus, international studies show relatively low quality of Kazakhstan preschool education.

Who and how determines the quality of preschool graduates' readiness for further education?

Until today at the national level nobody carried out external evalution of the quality of children's training for school. Due to this the Ministry of Education and Science initiated to do a research in 2015 on performance of preschool organizations based on the quality monitoring of preschool training. The study was conducted by Information and Analytical Center of the MES of the RK in 54 educational organizations involving more than 3 600 subjects of preschool education (nurses, teachers of primary school, curriculum developers, managers and educatees) from 5 regions of the country.

As a result the quality of preschool education was noted to be controlled today against input parametres: network, qualitative and quantative composition of teachers, material and technical provision, softwares, plans and so on. The level of graduates' readiness is identified against the results of internal monitoring, and the methodology is chosen independently by the preschool organization. Besides, 57% of preschool education applies «Methods of assessment and measurement of the quality how children acquire the basic content of  preschool educational programs» (Astana, 2004), 24% - «System of indicators for competence of children development aged from 1 to 6 years» (Kostanay, 2010), and 19% - other diagnostics.

Absence of standardized tools is often a reason of bias data though indicators of the final monitoring exceed the primary level of children competence by 50-70%. 

As a result, validity of the internal evaluation can not be identified by external experts through any direct measurement or children testing (Rules of governmental certification of educational organizations, item 25). State control of educatees' readiness is based on indirect data - interview of the staff, parents and materials of preschool organizations' self-evaluation. Deputy Chairman of the Committee for Control of Education and Science  Dairova T.N. says: «…internal evaluation is subjective because finally it depends on the level of training and personal approaches of the evaluator. To increase objectivity of evaluation such procedures of external measurement as EAEA, UNT,  CTE are carried out.  Maximum efficiency can be achieved through comparison and analysis of internal and external evaluation results».

The study of international experience shows that there is a trend of external final certification of graduates of preschool institutions. For example, in 2012 among the OECD countries there were 5 countries which used direct testing of pre-school children, but now their number is 7. A single standardized tool of assessment of preschool children's achievements  allows to provide balance of children's preparedness  across the country. In Australia, some territories of Canada and the United States the data is collected every 2-3 years and constitute the basis of the analysis of achievements of the main objectives of National strategies of preschool education development .

In addition, UNESCO Comprehensive Child Development Index 2014 and the study of early childhood education by the International Association for the Evaluation of Educational Achievements (IEA) 2013 include parameters for compliance of children with the goals of preschool education.

According to the study of IAC in Kazakhstan in 70% of final assessment of achievements of learners indirect methods of assessment is used (observation, portfolio, etc.), in 30% direct testing is used. At the present stage there is a need for unification of internal evaluation of the quality of in preschool education organizations, as well as inclusion of State monitoring and control of external assessment procedures into the system.

MES RoK is working within the framework of improving the quality of preparation of children for school and improving the system of ECEC. The draft of the State programme of education and science development for 2016-2020 includes the indicator "Share of children with sufficient level of skills to study at school of the new standards." State compulsory educational standards of ECEC is amended with requirements on the level of development of 6-7 y.o. children. "Model program for early childhood education and care of the Republic off Kazakhstan" and "Early childhood training program" are being tested. Information Analytical Center has developed  methodology for assessing the quality of pre-school training of children in ECEC with multiple-purpose Card of child's readiness for school and integrated diagnostic tools. The research is continued in 2016-2017 and focused on establishment of the National rating of ECEC.

These measures will help to clearly answer the question about the school readiness of children, open information access to the results for stakeholders and to modernize the continuity of pre-school and primary levels of education in the Republic of Kazakhstan.


1. OECD (2013), PISA 2012 Results: Excellence Through Equity: Giving Every Student the Chance to Succeed (Volume II), PISA, OECD Publishing;

2. The development status of children varies widely among countries and is weakest in the areas of literacy and numeracy.;

3. The rules of State certification of educational institutions (Governmental Decree dated 24th of December 2007 No 1270).