State Education Agency (SEA) Dyslexia LegislationYes
In 2015, Arkansas passed SB 788. The bill (a) defines dyslexia (see also Ark. Code Ann. § 6-41-602), (b) establishes screening requirements, (c) establishes evidence-based screening requirements, (d) creates a dyslexia specialist position at the Arkansas Department of Education, (e) outlines professional development requirements, and (f) calls for a plan to collaborate with institutions of higher education for teacher training.
Screening is required for: 1) Each student in kindergarten through grade two (K-2); 2) Kindergarten through grade 2 (K-2) students who transfer to a new school and have not been screened; 3) Kindergarten through grade 2 (K-2) students who transfer from another state and cannot present documentation that the student has had similar screening; 4) A student in grade three or higher experiencing difficulty, as noted by a classroom teacher. Students with sensory impairments, extant dyslexia diagnoses, or severe cognitive impairments may be exempt.
State Recognized Screeners
Screeners must measure: phonological and phonemic awareness, sound symbol recognition, alphabet knowledge, decoding skills, and rapid naming skills. Recognized screeners include: DIBELS, AIMSWeb, Istation ISIP, NWEA Skills Checklist, Lakeshore: Alphabet Letter Identification, Core Literacy Library: Phoneme Segmentation Test, Scholastic: CORE Phonics Survey, Decode: Consonant Blends and Digraphs, FCRR: Oral Reading Fluency Passages, Ultimate Phonics Reading Test, Arkansas Rapid Naming Screener (AR-RAN), Word Journeys, and Words their Way. See the state handbook for specific grade-level and content correspondences.
According to the state dyslexia resource guide, "No later than the 2015-2016 school year, the Department of Education shall collaborate with the Department of Higher Education to ensure that all teacher education programs offered at state-supported institutions of higher education provide professional awareness of the characteristics of dyslexia and evidence-based interventions and accommodations for dyslexia. Professional development providers interested in delivering this professional awareness piece should apply for ADE approval through the Arkansas Professional Development Submission and Management System (PDSAM).
By fiscal year, 2015, at least one staff member at each education service cooperative is trained as a dyslexia specialist to provide necessary information and support to school districts; and each teacher must receive professional development on the characteristics of dyslexia and evidence-based interventions and accommodations for dyslexia.
State law indicates, “If the initial screener, level I, or level II screener indicates the characteristics of dyslexia, the Response to Intervention process shall be used. The law further indicates, “Dyslexia intervention for a student whose dyslexia Level I or Level II screening under Section 5.02 of these rules indicates the need for dyslexia intervention services may include the following instructional approaches, but shall include all services deemed appropriate by the district: Explicit, direct instruction that is systematic, sequential, and cumulative and follows a logical plan of presenting the alphabetic principle that targets the specific needs of the student without presuming prior skills or knowledge of the student; Individualized instruction to meet the specific needs of the student in a small group setting that uses intensive, highly concentrated instruction methods and materials that maximize student engagement; Meaning-based instruction directed at purposeful reading and writing, with an emphasis on comprehension and composition; and Multisensory instruction that incorporates the simultaneous use of two (2) or more sensory pathways during teacher presentations and student practice.
The state state handbook additionally promotes interventions that are multisensory.
Literacy State-identified Measurable Result (SIMR) - Part B
Has Literacy SIMR?Yes
Zirkel, P. A., & Thomas, L. B. (2010). State laws for RTI: An updated snapshot. Teaching Exceptional Children, 42(3), 56-63.
Gearin, B., Turtura, J., Kame’enui, E. J., Nelson, N. J., & Fien, H. (2018). A Multiple Streams Analysis of Recent Changes to State-Level Dyslexia Education Law. Educational Policy, 0895904818807328.
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Has Dyslexia Legislation?Yes
Has Literacy SIMR?Yes
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 © 2021 National Center on Improving Literacy. https://improvingliterarcy.org