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:

  • Definitions
  • 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?

Understanding Screening: Overall Screening and Assessment

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.

Audience: 
Parents & Families, Schools & Districts
Topic: 
Screening
Notebook

Expert: Jack Fletcher, Ph.D.

Audience: 
Schools & Districts
Topic: 
Screening
4Fams

Watch this video to learn more about how teachers use data to help them understand how students are progressing and to develop strategies that support student success.

Topic: Assessments

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

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.

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.

Audience: 
Schools & Districts
Topic: 
Screening

Expert: Nadine Gaab Ph.D.

Audience: 
Schools & Districts
Topic: 
Identification, Screening

Learn about the technical concepts and statistical considerations related to screening instruments.

Bias

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.

Understanding Screening: Bias

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.

Audience: 
Schools & Districts
Topic: 
Screening

Classification Accuracy

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.

Understanding Screening: Classification Accuracy

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.

Audience: 
Schools & Districts
Topic: 
Screening

Reliability

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.

Understanding Screening: Reliability

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.

Audience: 
Schools & Districts
Topic: 
Screening

Sample Representativeness

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.

Understanding Screening: Sample Representativeness

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.

Audience: 
Schools & Districts
Topic: 
Screening

Validity

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.

Understanding Screening: Validity

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.

Audience: 
Schools & Districts
Topic: 
Screening

Use this chart to help you select an effective screener.

chart

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.

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.

Audience: 
Schools & Districts
Topic: 
Screening
Four Questions to Ask After Universal Screening

Screening for dyslexia risk should be part of a decision-making framework that answers four fundamental questions.

Audience: 
Schools & Districts
Topic: 
Screening
Doing What Works

Dr. Compton outlines the components of a schoolwide screening system and gives an example of how a school might implement a universal screening program.

Topic: General Literacy, Assessments, Screening

Doing What Works

Use this tool to plan a staff development meeting to review the universal screening recommendation and learn about the purpose of a universal screening system.

Topic: General Literacy, Professional Development, Screening

Doing What Works

The three activities included in this tool provide building-level leadership teams and school administrators with a framework for reflecting on the implementation and quality of their universal screening programs and refining or improving screening practices.

Topic: General Literacy, Assessments, Screening

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

Achieve the Core

Need ideas about how to use data to inform instruction on instructional reading skills? Check out this video.

Topic: 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

White Paper Cover Page

This paper aims to provide an overview and some insight into what is known about screening for dyslexia. Section I provides a brief overview of “what is dyslexia” and the importance of screening for dyslexia risk. In Section II of this paper, we discuss the neurological and behavioral aspects relevant to dyslexia as well as the emerging research in both areas. Section III provides a robust presentation of viewpoints and considerations for best practices in behavioral screening.

Topic: 
Dyslexia, Screening
Audience: 
Schools & Districts, State Agencies

Screening For Families

Learn about the role parents can play in screening a child for risk of future reading difficulties.

Route to Reading: Inspect the Manual - Screening & Assessment

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.

Audience: 
Parents & Families
Topic: 
Partnerships, Screening
CBM at Home

Use this free online assessment to screen your child for risk of future reading difficulties.

The Center on Standards & Assessment Implementation

This update provides information to parents on how to interpret three common types of assessment their child takes: classroom, district and school interim, and state annual assessments.

Topic: Assessments

Center for Disease Control

Use this milestone checklist to learn about important language and communication developmental milestones for your preschooler, see the milestones in action, and monitor milestones with your doctor.

Topic: Screening

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?

Screening Research

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:

Screening for Emergent Literacy During Well Visits

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.

Audience: 
Schools & Districts, State Agencies
Topic: 
Assessments, Screening
Commonalities Across Definitions of Dyslexia

This infographic highlights common definitions of dyslexia, and identifies core dimensions of dyslexia shared across those definitions.

Audience: 
Schools & Districts, State Agencies
Topic: 
Dyslexia, Screening

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