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Assessment of Reading Readiness Frequently Asked Questions

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General

Q.

Who should administer our literacy screener?

A.

It is highly recommended that classroom teachers administer the screening to each student. Given that classroom teachers know their students better than anyone else in the building, the most accurate and informative results will be obtained when the classroom teacher administers all parts of the screening.

Q.

Will there be a required screening window or specific timeframe in which students must be assessed?

A.

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.

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Student Data

Q.

What are the reporting requirements? Will data be sent to DPI?

A.

Wis. Stats. 118.016 does not require districts to report data from the assessment of reading readiness to the DPI. The statute does require that the results of the assessment be shared with parents or guardians.

Q.

If my district is using PALS, will the data be available in WISEdash for Districts?

A.

Data from PALS, through the 2015-16 school year, will remain in WISEdash for Districts. If a district wants data for 2016-17 and future years to be available in WISEdash, the district needs to complete the data sharing agreement for PALS. Once this form has been signed it should be scanned and emailed to Duane Dorn.

Q.

What about data from other reading readiness assessments?

A.

In order for DPI to display data from a locally selected screener in WISEdash, a data sharing agreement must be in place. Data sharing agreements are in place for MAP and Star screeners and WISEdash dashboards have been built. Data sharing agreements for these screeners can be found at: MAP data sharing agreement and Star data sharing agreement. No other data sharing agreements are in place at this time.

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Assessments

Q.

Is there a list of approved assessments?

A.

There is not and will not be a list of approved assessments.

Q.

Can we select more than one assessment? (different grade-levels, languages, special education)

A.

Wis. Stats. 118.016 requires that the assessment of reading readiness be an appropriate, valid, and reliable assessment of literacy fundamentals (including phonemic awareness and letter sound knowledge). There is nothing in the statute that precludes a district from selecting multiple assessments to comply with this statute (such as one assessment for 4K and 5K and a different assessment for grades 1 and 2 or a Spanish-language assessment for students engaged in literacy instruction in Spanish).

Q.

Can a district create their own reading readiness assessment?

A.

Districts are allowed to create and use their own reading readiness assessments to fulfill the requirements of Wis. Stats. 118.016. District created assessments are required to be appropriate, valid and reliable indicators of literacy fundamentals which evaluate whether pupils possess phonemic awareness and letter sound knowledge.

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Testing of Students in Various Situations

Q.

Which students are required to be assessed for fundamental literacy skills?

A.

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.

Q.

My district has community based 4K programs. Are they required to administer a literacy screener?

A.

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.

Q.

Are districts expected to assess all students with disabilities?

A.

Yes. State law requires districts and schools to assess all students, including students with disabilities. Students with disabilities may complete screeners with accommodations if necessary.

Q.

Who makes the decision about whether students with disabilities receive accommodations when completing a literacy screener?

A.

Decisions regarding whether students receive accommodations are the responsibility of the student's Individual Education Program (IEP) team.

Q.

When is parent opt-out allowable?

A.

The statute requiring screening (Wis. Stats. 118.016) does not provide a provision for opting students out of this assessment. Schools and districts should make every effort to assess all students.

Q.

Who is responsible for assessing students attending a Virtual School?

A.

Virtual schools are responsible for assessing all students enrolled in four-year-old kindergarten through second grade.

Q.

Is the school or district responsible for assessing a home-schooled student if the parent requests that?

A.

No. Home-schooled students are not included in the statute that mandates screening.

Q.

Do I need to assess students who are migrant or homeless?

A.

Yes. All students enrolled during the screening window must be assessed.

Q.

Do I need to assess a student who is out of state during the screening window?

A.

Schools and districts should make every effort to assess all students during the screening window. It may be necessary to make arrangements with parents to conduct the assessment during a makeup session.

Q.

How do I assess a general education student with a recent trauma?

A.

Schools and districts should use their own judgment about whether it is appropriate to assess a student who has suffered a recent trauma.

Q.

I have students who have limited English proficiency (LEP), also known as English Language Learners (ELLs). What requirements are there for these students?

A.

All four-year old kindergarten through second grade students are required to be administered a literacy screener. Each district makes its own determination about the appropriate screening instrument. DPI recommends that if schools elect to use foreign language screeners that it be limited to students enrolled in dual-language immersion programs.

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Results

Q.

How do I share literacy screener assessment information with parents/guardians?

A.

The statute requires that literacy screener results be shared with parents/guardians. Districts can choose their preferred method of communicating these results to parents/guardians. 

Q.

Results for one of my students indicate that he/she is at risk of reading difficulty. What am I required to do for this student?

A.

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.

Q.

What steps should our school take to provide interventions or services to students who are identified as at risk of a significant reading deficiency?

A.

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. It may be helpful to visit the RtI Center website to develop a tiered system of instruction and support.

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Reimbursement

Q.

What accounting code should our business office use when purchasing the literacy screener required by Wis. Stats. 118.016?

A.

Source 630 Project 522

Q.

What steps does my district need to take to get reimbursed?

A.

In the spring of each school year, DPI will send a reimbursement request form to the District Assessment Coordinator in each district. DACs should complete the form by the deadline and submit it to DPI. DPI will collect reimbursement requests from all districts and determine if there is enough money in the appropriation to fulfill each request. If there is enough money, all districts will receive their full request. If there is not enough money to fulfill each request, DPI will prorate payments to districts.

Q.

When will my district be reimbursed?

A.

DPI will deposit reimbursements into district accounts prior to the end of the fiscal year for which the request was submitted.

Q.

Which expenses are eligible for reimbursement?

A.

DPI will reimburse districts for the cost of training materials, student materials, scoring guides, online score portals, as well as teacher training costs (see table below).

Q.

Which expenses are not eligible for reimbursement?

A.

Teacher salary, IT staff salary, substitute salary, computers, travel costs to attend training.

Allowable Costs for Literacy Screening

Allowable costs graphic

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For questions about this information, contact osamail@dpi.wi.gov