Universal Screening For Reading Difficulties
When Screening for Students at Risk for Dyslexia
According to Joseph Torgesen, Ph.D., Director Emeritus: Florida Center for Reading Research, “we can, using tests currently available, accurately identify students who are likely to struggle with reading starting in preschool or kindergarten. What these tests cannot do this early is to differentiate students with dyslexia from others who will struggle in learning to read for reasons other than dyslexia. The goal of every school should be to provide interventions for all struggling readers that are sufficiently powerful to bring reading skills up to grade level standards. If this is accomplished for all struggling readers, then it will automatically be accomplished for all students with dyslexia.” (Florida Center for Reading Research, 2010)
The Purpose of Screening Is to:
Screening is neither a comprehensive nor a complete process and does not, in and of itself, constitute the diagnostic process. The goal is not to refer “at risk” children to special education but to more effectively address their specific deficits earlier in the general education setting thereby improving overall outcomes (Badian, 2000).
Optimal Characteristics of Universal Screening Assessments:
* Commercial assessments have undergone psychometric analyses to determine reliability & validity. A “teacher-made” assessment cannot be referred to as reliable or valid if it has not been analyzed by a psychometrician.
Universal screening data can help educators evaluate the effectiveness of their core language arts programs as well as identify students at risk for reading failure, particularly if more than 20% of students are not meeting required benchmarks.
Badian, N. A., & Badian, N. (2000). Do Preschool Orthographic Skills Contribute to Prediction of Reading. Prediction and Prevention of Reading Failure, 31-56.
Florida Center for Reading Research (FCRR) (2010). Technical Report #8. Dyslexia: A Brief for Educators, Parents, and Legislators in Florida.
National Center on Response to Intervention (2013, January). Screening Briefs Series— Brief #2: Cut Scores. Washington, DC: U.S. Department of Education, Office of Special Education Programs, National Center on Response to Intervention.
State Education Resource Center of Connecticut (2012, April 9). Elementary Assessments: Universal Screening, Diagnostic & Progress Monitoring.
Virginia Department of Education (2011, January). Study of Dyslexia Screening for Kindergartners.