Degree Name

EdD (Doctor of Education)


Educational Leadership

Date of Award


Committee Chair or Co-Chairs

Dr. Donald W. Good

Committee Members

Cecil N. Blankenship, James H. Lampley, Pamela H. Scott


Public school kindergarten programs have become increasingly more academic and have educators debating about what skills best serve children in kindergarten that will prepare them for later academic achievement. The Phonological Awareness Literacy Screening (PALS) is a screening instrument used in Virginia to assess kindergarten students and students in grades 1 through 3. Kindergarten teachers want to make sure that with the more demanding curriculum, and increase in rigorous standards, that students enter kindergarten ready to learn.

The purpose of this study was to examine the relationship between students’ kindergarten PALS scores and first grade PALS scores in a southwestern Virginia school district. This study involved kindergarten and first grade students. The study reviewed their readiness skills required for kindergarten and later academic achievement. The study also examined preschool experience, birth order, and birthdays when students entered kindergarten. In addition, the study included students who were redshirted or held out of school for a year before enrolling in kindergarten.

The results showed the Spring PALS scores of kindergarten students and the Spring PALS scores of first grade students are significant indicators of academic achievement for language arts literacy.

The results can potentially assist in identifying the skills needed for students to be successful when they begin kindergarten. The relationship between readiness in kindergarten PALS scores and first grade PALS scores appears to extend across students’ preschool experience, kindergarten entrance age, and birth order. Teachers, administrators, parents, policymakers, and legislators can make decisions that affect the curriculum and school readiness policies that will help students begin their educational career prepared to learn.

Document Type

Dissertation - unrestricted


Copyright by the authors.