Data just released by the state shows the opportunity gap is evident as early as kindergarten.
The report, released Tuesday morning from the Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction (OSPI), is based on data obtained from the "whole child" assessment portion of the Washington kindergarten Inventory of Developing Skills (WaKIDS) conducted last October.
The assessment is just one of three sections that make up WaKIDS; the other two involved family connections and early learning.
The data indicate that children entering kindergarten demonstrate varied skill levels, but those levels are still lowest among students of color. For instance, while 79-percent of all entering kindergartners demonstrate the literacy skills expected of children by the end of kindergarten, only 65% of Hispanic children demonstrate those same skills.
The disparities in student academic performance are commonly called the achievement or opportunity gap.
Entering kindergartners perform worst on math assessments, similar to their older counterparts, regardless of race or ethnicity. The data was not broken down by socioeconomic levels.
The state hopes the data will help kindergarten teacher tailor their instruction to the needs of individual students.
State Superintendent Randy Dorn said of the report, "This information can help teachers target their instruction as needed. Hopefully, by going through the process, families feel more connected to their child's teacher and classroom. And this will lead to future school success."