School Readiness among U.S. Children: Development of a Pilot Measure

Reem M. Ghandour, Kristin Anderson Moore, Kelly Murphy, Christina Bethell, Jessica R. Jones, Robin Harwood, Jessica Buerlein, Michael Kogan, Michael Lu

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

12 Scopus citations


No single U.S. data source supports a multidimensional, population-based assessment of young children’s readiness to start school. This changed with the 2016 National Survey of Children’s Health (NSCH). This study provides an overview of the process by which content related to multiple domains of school readiness was identified, refined and selected for inclusion in the NSCH; describes the analytic processes and resultant outcomes associated with the development of domain-specific and summary measures of school readiness; and discusses opportunities to refine and validate these pilot measures to provide a national portrait of young children’s progress towards timely mastery of skills and competencies needed to be “Healthy and Ready to Learn.” The NSCH, an annual, address-based, self-administered survey, produces national- and state-level data on the physical and emotional health of children ages 0–17 years. In 2016, 22 items were added to assess school readiness among 3–5 year-olds and pilot summary measures of “Healthy and Ready to Learn” were developed. Four distinct domains were identified: Early Learning Skills, Self-Regulation, Social-Emotional Development, and Physical Health/Motor Development. Over four in ten children were “On Track” across all four domains while another three in ten were on track in three of the four domains. One in ten are reported to be “On Track” in ≤ 1 domain. New NSCH content and related summary measures of “Healthy and Ready to Learn” present a unique opportunity to extend what is known about young children’s school-readiness at both the national and state levels. Continued measure development and validation is required.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1389-1411
Number of pages23
JournalChild Indicators Research
Issue number4
StatePublished - Aug 15 2019


  • Early childhood development
  • Early childhood education
  • Indicators
  • National Survey of Children’s health
  • School readiness

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Health(social science)
  • Social Psychology
  • Sociology and Political Science


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