Ask the Experts

Student Assessment - Universal Screening

We hear a lot about the importance of addressing fluency when screening students. Is this the most important reading component to address?

Response from Karen Wixson, Ph.D.:

All components of reading should be addressed within an RTI framework.  However, the extent to which each component is addressed may vary as a function of developmental levels (e.g., early elementary, upper elementary, middle and high school), and as a function of the purposes for which assessments are used (e.g., screening, diagnosis, progress monitoring).  Fluency is often used to screen students, but it's important to understand that these screening measures are most predictive at the early elementary levels.  Beyond these levels, it's likely that screening measures will need to include other components of reading to avoid the situation of students with high fluency who appear to be okay, but who have problems in other areas of reading.  It's also important to note that most screening measures do not provide sufficient information for planning instruction and that further evaluation of other reading components appropriate for different grade levels will be needed before identifying the most appropriate instruction intervention.  Finally, progress monitoring measures should be focused on the components of reading addressed in instruction, which means that they need to go beyond fluency.

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