This toolkit helps educators and parents learn about screening and how screening can help determine which students may be at risk for reading difficulties, including dyslexia.
You will learn:
- Important screening terms.
- Considerations for selecting a screening tool.
- Best practices for universal screening.
- Role parents can play in screening.
This toolkit includes:
- Research Briefs & Infographics
- Videos & Expert Advice
- Tools & Resources
What is Screening?
Early assessment and identification of students who are struggling to read, including those with dyslexia, is important to promote early interventions. Screening is critical in the early identification process and there are important considerations when it comes to understanding screening processes and tools.
What is assessment? What does it mean to screen a child in reading?
- Assessment is a process of collecting information.
- Screening is a type of assessment that helps teachers identify students who are not meeting grade level learning goals.
- Screening assessments check for warning signs to see if students might be at risk for reading difficulties, including dyslexia.
- Screening can provide valuable information to teachers to help struggling readers or those who are likely to struggle in the future.
This short video is an introduction to screening for reading risk. It answers the questions, what is screening? Why is screening for reading risk important? What should a screening assessment include? How do you select a screening assessment? And, what are the next steps after screening?
Assessment is a process of collecting information. Screening is an assessment process that helps teachers identify students who are at risk for not meeting grade-level learning goals.
Expert: Jack Fletcher, Ph.D.
How to Choose a Screener
There are many components that should be considered when evaluating, choosing, or using a screener. Explore these resources to learn more about the core considerations for selecting a screener.
There are many available screeners for reading and other education or social-emotional outcomes. This brief outlines important things to consider when choosing and using a screener.
Expert: Nadine Gaab Ph.D.
Learn about the technical concepts and statistical considerations related to screening instruments.
A characteristic of some tests that causes students to receive higher or lower scores for reasons other than the trait being measured. A test is not biased simply because two or more groups receive, on average, different scores. A test is biased if members of different groups receive different scores even though they are equal in the trait being measured.
When evaluating the quality of any screening tool, it is important to determine whether or not the assessment is biased against different groups of students. We want to ensure that students do not receive higher or lower scores on an assessment for reasons other than the primary skill or trait that is being tested.
How well a measure detects a condition or risk for a condition. Classification accuracy is often discussed in terms of true positives, false positives, true negatives, and false negatives.
Classification accuracy is a key characteristic of screening tools. A goal in classification accuracy is to correctly identify issues that result in a later problem and situations in which the scores identify issues that do not result in a later problem.
The consistency of a set of scores that are designed to measure the same thing. Reliability is a statistical property of scores that must be demonstrated rather than assumed.
Reliability is the consistency of a set of scores that are designed to measure the same thing. Reliability is a statistical property of scores that must be demonstrated rather than assumed.
How well a sample in a scientific study corresponds to the population in which the study’s findings will be applied. For instance, nationally representative samples of students are often desirable when research findings will be applied nationally.
Sample representativeness is an important piece to consider when evaluating the quality of a screening assessment. If you are trying to determine whether or not the screening tool accurately measures children’s skills, you want to ensure that the sample that is used to validate the tool is representative of your population of interest.
How well something measures what it's supposed to measure. The reliability and validity of scores from assessments are two concepts that are closely knit together and feed into each other.
Validity is broadly defined as how well something measures what it’s supposed to measure. The reliability and validity of scores from assessments are two concepts that are closely knit together and feed into each other.
Use this chart to help you select an effective screener.
This chart, by the National Center on Intensive Interventions, identifies screening tools by content area and rates each tool based on classification accuracy, generalizability, reliability, validity, disaggregated data for diverse populations, and efficiency.
How to Implement a Screening Program
Explore these resources to learn important considerations when establishing a screening protocol at your school.
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.
Screening for dyslexia risk should be part of a decision-making framework that answers four fundamental questions.
This paper aims to provide an overview and some insight into what is known about screening for dyslexia.
Screening For Families
Learn about the role parents can play in screening a child for risk of future reading difficulties.
You and the school can discuss key assessment tools, rubrics, grading criteria, or strategies to determine together if your child is successful in learning literacy content, skills, or completing an assignment.
Use this free online assessment to screen your child for risk of future reading difficulties.
In this panel discussion about Screening, our experts provide answers to the following questions: What is screening? What about a “fear factor” with screening? Who makes decisions about screening tools and procedures? Who should parents and caregivers go to with questions and concerns about screening and their child’s reading progress?
The following infographics cover various aspects of screening, including tools, emerging practices, and new considerations for screening. Infographics in this series will highlight the following research:
- Hutton, J. S., Justice, L., Huang, G., Kerr, A., DeWitt, T., & Ittenbach, R. F. (2019). The Reading House: a children’s book for emergent literacy screening during well-child visits. Pediatrics, 143(6).
- Miciak, J., & Fletcher, J. M. (2020). The critical role of instructional response for identifying dyslexia and other learning disabilities. Journal of Learning Disabilities, 53(5), 343-353.
- VanMeveren, K., Hulac, D., & Wollersheim-Shervey, S. (2020). Universal Screening Methods and Models: Diagnostic Accuracy of Reading Assessments. Assessment for Effective Intervention, 45(4), 255-265.
- Volpe, R. J., & Briesch, A. M. (2018). Establishing evidence-based behavioral screening practices in US schools. School Psychology Review, 47(4), 396-402.
- Mather, N., White, J., & Youman, M. (2020). Dyslexia around the world: A snapshot. Learning Disabilities, 25(1), 1-17.
- January, S. A. A., & Klingbeil, D. A. (2020). Universal screening in grades K-2: A systematic review and meta-analysis of early reading curriculum-based measures. Journal of School Psychology, 82, 103-122.
This infographic explores The Reading House (TRH), a children’s book designed to assess emergent skills in 3-4 year-old children during pediatric wellness visits.
This infographic highlights common definitions of dyslexia, and identifies core dimensions of dyslexia shared across those definitions.
This infographic compares different approaches to screening fourth and fifth grade students to determine which most accurately identified risk of reading difficulties.
This infographic examines the online presence of dyslexia across 195 countries.
Curriculum-based measurement (CBM) tools are brief assessments that have several uses in school settings.
The research reported here is funded by awards to the National Center on Improving Literacy from the Office of Elementary and Secondary Education, in partnership with the Office of Special Education Programs (Award #: S283D160003). The opinions expressed are those of the authors and do not represent views of OESE, OSEP, or the U.S. Department of Education. Copyright © 2023 National Center on Improving Literacy. https://improvingliteracy.org