The Kindergarten Developmental Inventory (KDI) & the Kindergarten Experience

In 2013, the Arizona Department of Education joined a multi-state consortium led by North Carolina to develop and implement a Kindergarten Developmental Inventory (KDI) that will be available in Arizona for all kindergarten classrooms in the 2017-18 school year.

The Kindergarten Developmental Inventory (KDI) is an assessment that kindergarten teachers will use to obtain an in-depth understanding of the developmental strengths and needs of every child. It is intended to be used as a formative assessment—as a tool used throughout the entire school year to help teachers identify the depths of each child’s knowledge and abilities in all areas of development: (1) Social and Emotional, (2) Language and Communication, (3) Approaches to Learning, (4) Cognitive, and (5) Physical.

This dynamic, highly engaging process of assessing children requires the intentional observation of children in order to truly understand their individual learning needs. Teachers will gather multiple forms of evidence that may include observational/anecdotal notes, samples of meaningful work such as drawings or stories written by the child, voice recorded language samples, photographs of meaningful experiences, and videos of children figuring out complex problems or engaging in the process of discovery. The wealth of information gleaned from this collection of evidence should be used to drive decision making including (1) the planning of developmentally appropriate opportunities for learning, (2) identifying individualized goals and systems of support, when needed, (3) and the implementation of effective instructional strategies for individual children, for small groups, and for the classroom community of learners.

In an effort to prepare teachers and administrators for the implementation of the KDI, a professional development pilot entitled The Kindergarten Project was created in 2013. As a collaborative effort between the Arizona Department of Education, Alesi Group, LLC, and the Virginia G. Piper Charitable Foundation, The Kindergarten Project aimed to research and identify evidence-based kindergarten practices that support the whole child and increase the likelihood of academic and lifelong success.

In the spring of 2015, The Kindergarten Experience was launched with a Social and Emotional Development in Kindergarten conference. The Kindergarten Experience, an extension of The Kindergarten Project, is a series of dynamic professional development trainings, workshops and opportunities that offer a comprehensive lens for evidence-based practices that support the whole child in kindergarten. These identified practices are the foundation for the effective and successful implementation of the Kindergarten Developmental Inventory.

To view the upcoming dates of The Kindergarten Experience, click HERE


We are currently in the field test stage. There are approximately 52 teachers in three counties, grades K-3, using the tool. The information gathered through our research partner, SRI, will help with the selection criteria for a tool. Also happening right now is the writing of the implementation plan. If you are interested in participating in this stage of work, please contact me. Click The KDI Video for a link to Arizona’s vision, courtesy of our collaborative partnership with First Things First!