(a) The Superintendent, by June 1, 2007, shall contract for an independent longitudinal evaluation regarding the effects of the change in the entry age for kindergarten and first grade pursuant to this article. In selecting the independent evaluator, awarding the contract pursuant to this section, and in monitoring performance under the contract, the Superintendent shall consult with the advisory panel convened pursuant to subdivision (b) of Section 48005.13.
(b) The evaluation shall be based upon samples of sufficient size and diversity to allow results to be reported separately for pupils of different ethnicity, socioeconomic status, and primary language, and results of the evaluation shall be so reported.
(c) The primary purpose of the evaluation is to determine whether this entry age change results in improved readiness for school and an improvement in academic achievement among participating children.
(d) The evaluation shall use representative sampling to identify the change's effects on all of the following:
(1) Academic achievement, as measured by standardized tests, as compared with pupils not participating in the program.
(2) Behavioral problems, as measured by objective data including, but not limited to, suspension and expulsion rates, as compared with pupils not participating in the program.
(3) Academic problems, as measured by referrals to special education and remedial programs, as compared with pupils not participating in the program.
(4) Age of kindergarten entry and previous educationally based preschool experience, including, but not limited to, access to child care and preschool by parents or guardians.
(5) Overall retention rates in kindergarten and in subsequent grades.
(6) Participation in remedial, supplemental, or summer school programs.
(7) Class size.
(8) Number of pupils participating in kindergarten.
(9) Number of pupils participating in the kindergarten readiness programs.
(10) Differences, if any, between programs with full preschool participation, and those with partial or no preschool.
(11) Child care difficulties caused by the admission age change.
(12) Demographic breakdown of participants and nonparticipants, including, but not limited to, socioeconomic and ethnic demographics.
(13) Facilities difficulties, if any, encountered by participating school districts.
(14) The ability of parents to gain access to the program, disaggregated by ethnic, primary language, and socioeconomic status.
(e) It is the intent of the Legislature that funding for this evaluation be included in the Budget Act or a bill related to the Budget Act. It is the intent of the Legislature to subsequently increase the number of hours funded for the kindergarten readiness program if the reports pursuant to this section indicate that the increase would be beneficial.
(f) (1) The independent evaluator shall report to the Legislature, the Governor, the Superintendent, and the state board.
(2) The initial report shall be filed by June 1, 2009. The interim report shall be filed by January 1, 2011. The final report shall be filed by January 1, 2012.
(Amended by Stats. 2011, Ch 347, Sec. 22.)