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How To Select Your Screening Assessments

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July 8th, 2019

As the school year winds down, it is a good time to confirm plans for universal screening in the upcoming school year.

School-based teams are likely thinking about which screening assessments they will use, when screening will be conducted, and how to use the data to inform instruction and intervention.

Creating plans now for next year’s screening can help to ensure that the process unfolds smoothly and the data can be used to support instructional decisions.

FAST™ Screening Assessments

FastBridge Learning® publishes a number of different screening assessments in the areas of reading, math, and behavior.

There are different types of FAST™ screening assessments, including computer-adaptive tests (CAT) and curriculum-based measures (CBM) for academics and rating scales for behavior. The CAT are all computer-based and CBM offers both computer-based and paper assessments.

The rating scales are computer-based. The following table summarizes all of the assessments.

FAST™ Screening Assessments

Format Reading Math Behavior
CAT aReading (K-12) aMath (K-8) NA
CBM earlyReading (K-1) earlyMath (K-1)
CBMreading (1-8) CBMmath Automaticity (1-3)
AUTOreading (K-12) CBMmath CAP (K-8)
COMPefficiency (Lab; (2-8)) CBMmath Process (2-6)
Rating Scales NA NA SAEBRS


There are five reading and five math screening options. For behavior there are two options, one for teachers (SAEBRS) and one for students (mySAEBRS).

FAST™ Recommendations

In order to assist educators in selecting the best screening assessments for each grade, the following table lists the FastBridge recommendations by grade level.

Grade Reading Math Behavior
K earlyReading Composite earlyMath Composite SAEBRS
1 earlyReading Composite earlyMath Composite SAEBRS
2 aReading + AUTOreading + CBMreading  CBMmath Automaticity SAEBRS and mySAEBRS
3 aReading + AUTOreading + CBMreading CBMmath Automaticity SAEBRS and mySAEBRS
4 aReading + AUTOreading aMath SAEBRS and mySAEBRS
5 aReading + AUTOreading aMath SAEBRS and mySAEBRS
6 aReading + AUTOreading aMath SAEBRS and mySAEBRS
7 aReading + AUTOreading aMath SAEBRS and mySAEBRS
8 aReading + AUTOreading aMath SAEBRS and mySAEBRS
9 aReading + AUTOreading aMath for grades 9-12 are in development and will be available in the future SAEBRS and mySAEBRS
10 aReading + AUTOreading SAEBRS and mySAEBRS
11 aReading + AUTOreading SAEBRS and mySAEBRS
12 aReading + AUTOreading SAEBRS and mySAEBRS


As the above table displays, in kindergarten and grade 1, the best assessments are different from later grades. This is because very young students require more attention from teachers in order to identify their learning needs. The recommended reading and math screening assessments are individually-administered CBM.

The behavior measure is a computer-based teacher rating scale. Individual administration of screening assessments in the early grades ensures that each student’s current performance is carefully recorded.

Starting in grade 2, the recommended assessments include a combination of individually-administered assessments as well as computer-based teacher ratings and computerized measures that students complete.

As students become more independent, computer-based tools provide an effective way to capture important information about all students’ learning needs. An important addition to the screening tools available for grades 2 and above is the mySAEBRS.

This is the student version of the online FAST™ teacher behavior rating scale. Collecting both teacher and student data about each student’s social, academic, and behavior learning needs provides important confirmation of additional skills that students need to learn in order to achieve school success.

At grade 4 and above, the recommended FAST™ screening assessments are all computer-based, providing easy and quickly available data about student performance.

Screening Schedules and Logistics

FastBridge recommends conducting screening three times during each school year, in the fall, winter, and spring for students in the elementary grades unless spring data are used to group students for the following school year.

At the secondary level, schools can take into consideration prior student data and screening could be less often.

Since U.S. schools start at different times of the year, the recommended dates for screening vary. In order to provide general guidance about screening schedules, the following dates reflect earlier and later school-year start schedules.

Effective universal screening requires planning ahead so that all staff are prepared and ready to use the screening data to plan instruction that meets individual student needs.

Other logistics that are important for effective screening include training the staff who will conduct screening, preparing required materials, and scheduling dates to review screening data.

Start Date Fall Dates Winter Dates Spring Dates
August August 15 – September 15 December 1-20 April 1-30
September September 15 – October 15 January 5-31 May 1-31


Traditionally, screening has included one assessment for each grade level. In order to use screening data to plan instruction, more than one screening score is needed. Teachers can compare screening scores with other sources of student information or they can use two screening measures.

Starting in 2019-2020, FastBridge will offer FASTtrack Reading as a tool for selecting two reading screeners for students to complete. FASTtrack Reading combines a broad and specific assessment to identify each student’s current reading instruction needs.

When FASTtrack Reading is used, teachers can then review the Screening to Intervention Report to see specific interventions and progress measures are best aligned with each student’s needs.

Universal screening is a crucial component of a multi-tiered system of support (MTSS) because it documents the current performance of all students and helps teachers identify which students need additional instruction. In order for screening data to be helpful there are specific steps schools can use to optimize results. These include:

  • Careful selection of the measures used to ensure alignment with the curriculum;
  • A district-wide assessment schedule that includes dates for all screening assessments;
  • Training for those who will conduct screening;
  • Dates for screening data review sessions in each school after the screening sessions;
  • Procedures for reviewing, interpreting, and responding to student learning needs documented in the screening scores.

Interested in learning more about selecting the right assessments for your district? Let’s talk!

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