Wis. Stats. 118.016 requires each pupil enrolled in 4-year-old kindergarten to 2nd grade in a school district or in a charter school to be annually assessed for reading readiness. Each school board and the operator of each charter school shall select the appropriate, valid, and reliable assessment of literacy fundamentals to be used. The school board or operator shall ensure that the assessment evaluates whether a pupil possesses phonemic awareness and letter sound knowledge.
As many schools are considering blended models of instruction for this school year, it is important to be aware of the requirements for the administration of a Reading Readiness screener.
- Who to Screen: Each school district and each charter school is required to annually assess each student enrolled in four-year-old kindergarten (4K), five-year-old kindergarten (5K), first grade and second grade for fundamental literacy skills.
- Community-based 4K: The requirement for four-year-old kindergarten includes community based 4K programs that are part of a school district, as well as traditional elementary school based 4K programs.
- When to Screen: DPI does not have a state mandated screening window. Districts are free to establish their own screening window. Keep in mind that some vendors may utilize a screening window and have established benchmarks based on students being screened during the vendor-prescribed window.
- How Often to Screen: Districts are required to screen each student at least once per year. There is no upper limit on the number of times a student may be screened.
- Virtual Screening: Each district is authorized to determine the method in which screening may take place. Several vendors allow for virtual administration of their screener. Users of purchased screeners should verify with the vendor the conditions upon which virtual screening should occur.
- Who Should Administer: It is highly recommended that classroom teachers administer the screening to each student. Classroom teachers typically have received training and have the most experience with administering a Reading Readiness screener. In general, the most accurate and informative results will be obtained when the classroom teacher administers all parts of the screening.
- Sharing information with Parents: Literacy screener results are required to be shared with parents/guardians. Districts can choose their preferred method of communicating these results to parents/guardians.
- Students Identified as Being at Risk: If a student's score on the literacy screener indicates the student is at risk of reading difficulty, schools and districts are required to provide interventions or remedial services. Wis. Stats. 118.016 and Wis. Stats. 121.02(1)(c) state that the interventions or services provided to the student shall be scientifically based, and shall address all areas in which the student is deficient, in a manner consistent with the state standards in reading and language arts.
- Interventions and Remedial Services: Students who are identified as at risk of reading difficulty should continue to receive high-quality core instruction. In addition, targeted small-group and individual interventions may be necessary based on the obtained results. Teachers are also encouraged to work with other professionals (other classroom teachers, reading specialists, special education teachers, ELL teachers, psychologists and principals) to develop intervention plans. The RtI Center provides guidance for how to develop a tiered system of instruction and support.
- School districts and charter schools will be responsible for the cost of administering the assessment of reading readiness chosen by the district or charter school. However, school districts and charter schools will be eligible to seek reimbursement from DPI for the costs of the assessment, provided the assessment meets the criteria established in state law (described above). These state aid payments will be prorated if the total reimbursement claims submitted by school districts and charter schools exceed the amount appropriated for this purpose.