Best Practices in Universal Screening

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Best Practices in Universal Screening

Best Practices in Universal Screening

There is broad agreement that schools should implement early screening and intervention programs. State legislation generally favors the use of universal screening within schools across grades K-2, where students are screened annually to assess risk for dyslexia and other reading disabilities.

Schools should provide at least three levels of instructional support for students, based on their risk for poor overall reading proficiency:

  1. Core classroom instruction for students reading at or above grade level (i.e., low risk for reading problems).
  2. Moderate additional support for students reading somewhat below grade level expectations (i.e., moderate risk for reading problems).
  3. Intense additional support for students reading well below grade level expectations (i.e., high risk for reading problems).

When establishing a screening protocol consider...

  1. The scope of the assessment, the reliability and validity of scores, and the classification accuracy of the screener relative to the specified outcome.
  2. When and how the screening assessment(s) will be administered at frequent intervals.
  3. Who will be responsible for entering data into a database and printing reports immediately following each screening assessment.
  4. Holding primary grade level team meetings and upper grade cross-discipline team meetings after each school-wide screening to analyze the reports and determine placement and instructional grouping for each student.
  5. How parents/families will be engaged in the decision-making and kept updated on their child’s reading performance.

Suggested Citation

National Center on Improving Literacy (2019). Best practices in universal screening. Washington, DC: U.S. Department of Education, Office of Elementary and Secondary Education, Office of Special Education Programs, National Center on Improving Literacy. Retrieved from http://improvingliteracy.org.

References

Petscher, Y., Fien, H., Stanley, C., Gearin, B., Gaab, N., Fletcher, J.M., & Johnson, E. (2019). Screening for Dyslexia. Retrieved from improvingliteracy.org.

Related Resources

Doing What Works

Listen to a literacy coach explains how the use of screening data has changed instruction at her school.

Topic: General Literacy, Assessments, Screening

Doing What Works

This multimedia overview explains the value of universal screening, the recommended components of an effective screening system, and cut-points to identify at-risk students.

Topic: General Literacy, Assessments

Doing What Works

In this interview, Dr. Compton explains the purpose of universal screening, describes how it fits into a multi-tiered intervention system, and discusses using screening to identify students at risk for reading problems and place them into appropriate interventions.

Topic: General Literacy, Assessments, Screening