Current education policy guidelines state that children are required to enter into grade 1 during the year in which they turn 7. As children are compelled by law to enter school, formal school readiness assessments are not as regularly conducted as they were in previous years. Thousands of children commence to school, and experience difficulties due to developmental difficulties that were not identified early on.

Broadly defined, a school readiness assessment explores whether a child is ready to benefit from formal education. The following are aspects of development that are considered to be critical indicators of the children’s degree of school readiness:

  1. Physical, sensory and motor development
  2. Cognitive development (which includes intellectual, perceptual, language and numerical development, reasoning ability, memory, and general knowledge)
  3. Emotional and social development

It is important to note that a screening battery is used for this purpose. Children need to reach a particular score to be considered age-appropriate. Children scoring below this cut mark are referred for an indepth assessment to explore their areas of difficulty further with a Psychologist. The school readiness battery was designed and standardised by a team headed up by Prof Cheryl Foxcroft and Prof Sandy Shillington.

School readiness assessments are conducted in conjunction with the Psychology Clinic and the Psychology Department, as on demand. Currently, 3 schools on average request school readiness assessments. The average number of children assessed per year is approximately 60.

Assessments are conducted under the supervision of a Counselling Psychologist, with the assistance of students from the honours class. The psychologist is on site during administration, and conducts the scoring and reporting of results.

For more information please contact the Department at


Contact information
Dr Alida Sandison
Lecturer & Clinic Manager
Tel: 27 41 504 4522