Governor Kay Ivey signed House Bill 113, the First Grade Readiness Bill, into law on Wednesday. 

Sponsored by State Rep. Pebblin Warren (D-Tuskegee), the new law provides a readiness assessment for first graders who did not attend kindergarten, ensuring early educational intervention for children who need it. Alabama doesn’t require children to attend kindergarten.

Under the new law, students who didn’t attend kindergarten would take a test to demonstrate first-grade readiness.

“The First Grade Readiness Bill is a strategic and thoughtful approach to early education in Alabama. This is common sense legislation – no child should start behind,” Ivey said. “By taking proactive steps now to lay a strong foundation from the very beginning, we will not be forced to make reactive moves later. Our children deserve no less than our best efforts right from the start.”

The readiness assessment, developed by the Alabama State Department of Education, will measure developmental and physical skills necessary for first grade. Students who have completed kindergarten will be exempt from the testing.

"I applaud Governor Ivey for supporting and signing HB 113,” Warren said. “After years of work on this subject, I was determined not to give up on our kids! This new law will ensure students are truly prepared to enter the first grade. I'm confident this will strengthen our education system and prevent future retention among our younger students.”

The readiness assessment will first be administered in the 2025-2026 school year.

To connect with the author of this story or to comment, email

Don't miss out! Subscribe to our newsletter and get our top stories every weekday morning.