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UVA Study Tracks Increasing Academic Focus in Kindergarten - NBC29 WVIR Charlottesville, VA News, Sports and Weather

UVA Study Tracks Increasing Academic Focus in Kindergarten

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Kindergarten class Kindergarten class

As the perceived pressures build on both parents and their children to perform earlier in school, the focus on doing more faster is having real implications. A recently released study from the University of Virginia says kindergartners are bearing the weight.

The UVA Center on Education Policy and Workforce Competitiveness study finds current kindergarten classes are focusing on the ABCs at the expense of all other subjects and the social development time of the playground.

Daphna Bassok is one of the researchers who put together the study titled "Is Kindergarten the New First Grade?" Researchers tracked changes in kindergarten classrooms from 1998 to 2006.

Teachers report spending 25 percent more time on reading and writing. The number of kindergarten teachers who said their students never take part in physical education classes doubled over those eight years.

Bassok is now taking a look at how this more-academic kindergarten is affecting young students.

“We show such big changes in what's happened in kindergarten over this time that it'll be an opportunity to test what did this do to kids. Are kids leaving kindergarten more stressed out, are they more ready to learn?” said Bassock. “There could be positives and negatives to that.”

The research suggests the pressure of standardized testing, which typically starts in third grade, is trickling down to raise the rigor for kindergartners.

The number of children in preschool programs also increased during the study's time period. UVA’s research says that could also cause kindergarten classrooms to raise the bar to keep up with smarter incoming students.

Read the full study here.

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