Ready by 21 Dashboard

Outcome: Academically Successful and Workforce Ready

41% of Central Texas Children Enter Kindergarten School Ready

Indicator: Percentage of children entering kindergarten school ready

Goal: Increase the percentage of children entering kindergarten school ready

Target: 70% by 2018

Key trends: The rate of school readiness among Central Texas kindergarteners dropped significantly in 2015 to 41%, according to Ready,Set,K!, a measure developed by the E3 Alliance with the help of experts from across the region. From 2010 to 2014 about half or slightly more than half of Central Texas kindergarteners were school ready.

Significant disparities exist between low income and non-low income students. In 2015, 30% of low income children were school ready, compared to 51% of non-low income children. Racial disparities also persist. White students are more likely than Hispanic students to be school ready. While the sample sizes for Black students are small and not statistically reliable , the data from this group over time seems to indicate a lower rate of school readiness. Students who attend pre-k prior to kindergarten are more likely to be ready for school.

what the data tell us

Less than half of Central Texas children were school ready according to Ready,Set,K!, a measure developed by the E3Alliance with the help of experts from across the region. The percentage of children who are kindergarten ready decreased for 2015. In 2015, 41% of Central Texas kindergartners were school ready, compared to 53% in 2014.

Definition: Percent of children who were assessed school ready

Data Source: E3 Alliance

Data Considerations: This data is based on a sample of students from various Central Texas school districts. There are variations in the sample size and in districts represented in the data sample across years. This data was collected during assessments done over kindergarteners’ first nine weeks of school. Children were assessed across four domains of child development: social/emotional, language and communication, early literacy, and mathematics. The data is weighted to be representative of the Central Texas region. The only statistically significant change is the decrease in readiness in 2015 compared to prior years. *The jurisdiction for this data is the Austin Community College service area, which was changed slightly by the Texas State Legislature, marginally reducing the total population size.

Click on this graph showing the percentage of Central Texas Children who enter kindergarten school ready to download an excel spreadsheet with expanded information

the story behind the indicator

Just over half of children entering kindergarten ready for school were prepared in 2014. To track school readiness, E3 Alliance developed a measure known as Ready, Set K! that assesses students on their preparedness for kindergarten in four domains: social-emotional development, emerging literacy, language and communication, and math. Each year, kindergarten teachers in a sample of Central Texas classrooms assess the readiness of their new students. This indicator has remained relatively unchanged since the E3 Alliance began collecting data in 2010.

School readiness has a lasting effect throughout a child’s lifetime, influencing later academic success. The programs available to children impact their ability to begin kindergarten prepared to succeed. In their 2014 study, E3 found that 55% of students who attended a pre-kindergarten program were school ready, compared to 42% of students who did not attend one of these programs. In 2013, 77% of eligible 4-year olds in Central Texas enrolled in public pre-kindergarten. E3 has set a community goal of ensuring all eligible children enroll in a pre-k program by 2020. Students living in families with low-incomes are also less likely to enter school prepared. In 2013, 21% of children under 5 lived in families with incomes below the poverty level, down from a recessionary high of 28% in 2010.

some local efforts to improve this indicator

a closer look at the story behind the indicator

Click any of the section titles below to view related graph and information.

Percent of Central Texas Children Entering Kindergarten School Ready by Economic Status

Children from non-low income families in Central Texas are much more likely to enter kindergarten school ready than their low income peers. In 2015, 30% of low income children were school ready, compared to 51% of non-low income children. School readiness for both groups, however, is trending downward.

Click on this graph to download an excel spreadsheet with expanded information

Definition: Percent of children who were assessed school ready by economic status

Data Source: E3 Alliance

Data Considerations: This data is based on a sample of students from various Central Texas school districts. The data is weighted to be representative of the Central Texas region. There are variations in the sample size and in districts represented in the data sample across years. This data was collected during assessments done over kindergarteners’ first nine weeks of school. Children were assessed across four domains of child development: social/emotional, language and communication, early literacy, and mathematics. This data has been aggregated by E3 Alliance.

Percent of Central Texas Children Entering Kindergarten School Ready, by Race & Ethnicity

Half of White children and one-third of Hispanic children were school ready in 2015. The sample size for Black students is very small, resulting in variations that are not statistically relevant. The sample size for Asian students was too small to report.

Click this graph showing percentage of Central Texas Children who are Kindergarten ready by Race & Ethnicity to download an excel document containing expanded information.

Definition: Percent of children who were assessed school ready by race and ethnicity

Data Source: E3 Alliance

Data Considerations: This data is based on a sample of students from various Central Texas school districts. The data is weighted to be representative of the Central Texas region. Due to the small sample size for Black students, there are large variations that are not statistically relevant; results should be considered across time. There are variations in the sample size and in districts represented in the data sample across years. This data was collected during assessments done over kindergarteners’ first nine weeks of school. Children were assessed across four domains of child development: social/emotional, language and communication, early literacy, and mathematics. This data has been aggregated by E3 Alliance.

Percent of Central Texas Children Who Are Kindergarten Ready, by Pre-Kindergarten Attendance

Children who attended a pre-kindergarten program were more likely to enter kindergarten school ready for than children who did not attend pre-k. In 2015, 45% of children who attended pre-K were ready for school compared to 28% of children who did not attend pre-K.

Click on this graph showing percentage of Central Texas Children who are Kindergarten ready by pre-kindergarten attendance to download an excel spreadsheet with expanded information.

Definition: Percent of children who were assessed school ready by pre-kindergarten attendance

Data Source: E3 Alliance

Data Considerations: This data is based on a sample of students from various Central Texas school districts. The data is weighted to be representative of the Central Texas region. There are variations in the sample size and in districts represented in the data sample across years. This data was collected during assessments done over kindergarteners’ first nine weeks of school. Children were assessed across four domains of child development: social/emotional, language and communication, early literacy, and mathematics. This data has been aggregated by E3 Alliance.

Percent of Central Texas Children Who Are Kindergarten Ready, by Gender

In 2015, 45% of girls were school ready, compared to 37% of boys. For girls, this was the lowest number since 2013, when 60% were kindergarten ready, and the lowest since 2011 for boys, when 40% were kindergarten ready.

Click on this graph showing percentage of Central Texas Children who are Kindergarten ready by gender to download an excel spreadsheet with expanded information.

Definition: Percent of children who were assessed school ready by gender

Data Source: E3 Alliance

Data Considerations: This data is based on a sample of students from various Central Texas school districts. The data is weighted to be representative of the Central Texas region. There are variations in the sample size and in districts represented in the data sample across years. This data was collected during assessments done over kindergarteners’ first nine weeks of school. Children were assessed across four domains of child development: social/emotional, language and communication, early literacy, and mathematics. This data has been aggregated by E3 Alliance.

*Definition of population contained in Central Texas region was reduced marginally.

Percent of Births to Mothers with No High School Diploma

For the most part, the percentage of births to mothers with no high school diploma has been slowly declining locally and statewide over the past five years, although Hays County experienced an increase in 2013. Disparities exist by metro area county. In Bastrop, Caldwell, and Travis Counties, the percent of births to mothers with no high school diploma is closer to the state share, whereas Hays and Williamson County see a lower percentage of births to mothers with no high school diploma.

Click on this graph showing percentage of births to mothers with no high school diploma, 2005-2011, to download an excel spreadsheet with expanded information, including margin of error information

Definition: Percent of births to mothers with no high school diploma, Texas residents

Data Source: Texas Department of State Health Services — Center for Health Statistics

Data Considerations: Birth data are derived from a subset of variables collected on the Texas Certificate of Live Birth. 

Percent of Births to Mothers with No High School Diploma by Race/Ethnicity in Travis County

While births to mothers with no high school diploma have mostly declined over time, there remain great disparities by race and ethnicity. In 2013, 89% of births to Hispanic mothers and 5% of births to Black mothers were to women with no high school diploma. Meanwhile, only 4% of births to White mothers and 2% of births to mothers of other races were to women with no high school diploma.

Click this graph showing percentage of births to mothers with no high school diploma by Race/Ethnicity in Travis County to download an excel document containing expanded information.

Definition: Percent of births to mothers with no high school diploma, Texas residents, by mother’s race/ethnicity

Data Source: Texas Department of State Health Services — Center for Health Statistics

Data Considerations: Birth data are derived from a subset of variables collected on the Texas Certificate of Live Birth. 

Percent of Children Under the Age of 5 Who Are Living Below the Poverty Level

In 2014, 27% of children under the age of five in Travis County were living below the federal poverty level. This represents an increase from 21% in 2013. Travis County has consistently had a lower under five poverty rate than the State of Texas, but in 2014 their rates were essentially equal.

Click on this graph to download an excel spreadsheet with expanded information.

Definition: Percent of children under the age of five living in families with incomes below the federal poverty level for the past 12 months

Data Source: American Community Survey

Data Considerations: The American Community Survey samples 3% of the Nation’s population. Due to small sample sizes, margins of error are increased and hard to reach populations may not be accurately represented in the data.

Facts about Early Childhood Education in Austin/Travis County
  • 55% of full-day early care and education centers meet quality standards as measured in a community accepted Quality Rating System
  • Three out of five lead teachers in full-day early care and education centers have less than an associate’s degree.
  • In 2014, 2,287 families received high-quality home visiting services—up from 1,691 in 2013.

disproportionately impacted