Kindergarten today isn’t what it used to be, with a narrower focus on testing and literacy and less time for humanities and other subjects, according to a study by two UVA researchers.

The paper, “Is Kindergarten the New First Grade? The Changing Nature of Kindergarten in the Age of Accountability,” found that in less than a decade, more teachers have come to expect kindergarteners to know their letters and numbers when they walk in the door and leave the grade reading.

The researchers also discovered that between 1998 and 2006, teachers spent 25 percent more time on literacy instruction, while diminishing the amount of time spent on other subjects.

“Kindergarteners today are spending far less time on art, music, physical education and even social studies and science,” says Daphna Bassok, one of the paper’s authors at EdPolicyWorks, a joint collaboration between the Curry School of Education and the Frank Batten School of Leadership and Public Policy. “While we don’t yet have research examining exactly what this shift has meant for young children’s learning during kindergarten, this narrowing of the curriculum seems troubling.”