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How to Use Winter Screening Data

December 8th, 2020

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Winter screening data provide teachers with an important snapshot of all students’ performance. Having universal data halfway through the year gives teams the opportunity to learn how well the overall system of supports is working and what should be changed in order to improve outcomes for all students by the end of the school year. In addition to reviewing the percentages of students at different risk levels, educators can also analyze how much growth students have made and the need to intensify intervention for some students.

As a note, winter screening processes were skipped by many districts prior to the pandemic. Winter screening is strongly encouraged for all students this year (and likely the next few years). It will be an important mid-year check to see if students are growing, if gaps are closing, and if adjustments to instruction, intervention, and intensification are needed.

Measuring Student Growth

Growth data indicate how much change students have made from fall to winter. Growth is important because the amount of growth over time will determine if a student stays at the same level or moves ahead. Schools aim to provide all students with at least one year’s growth during each academic year. For students whose scores indicate that they need to catch up to grade-level goals, more growth is needed, which is sometimes known as catch-up growth. Many assessment systems are accompanied by a growth report so that teams can examine how much learning growth all students have experienced. Having data about student growth in the middle of the school year allows educators to adjust instruction for students needing faster growth.

Updating Interventions

After reviewing winter screening data, school teams will be able to update interventions in relation to students’ needs. At the end of the day, it is interventions (e.g., instruction) that change student learning outcomes. Educators can analyze universal screening data to answer questions such as:

1. Who continues to need intervention and for what skill area?

2. Which students who are currently in intervention should be exited and transitioned from their intervention group?

3. Who are the new students who need intervention?

When students display limited score gains from an intervention, consider changing to a different intervention. Winter screening scores can assist teams in determining which students need different intervention by revealing the students’ scores on grade-level material. The screening scores should be reviewed alongside progress data so teams can understand how close the student is to the grade-level goal. This is especially important for students whose progress is monitored below grade-level.

Thanks for reading an excerpt of our new Universal Screening 101 eBook. If you want to learn more, download the full eBook here.



Illuminate Education equips educators to take a data-driven approach to serving the whole child. Our solution combines comprehensive assessment, MTSS management and collaboration, and real-time dashboard tools, and puts them in the hands of educators. As a result, educators can monitor learning and growth, identify academic and social-emotional behavioral needs, and align targeted supports in order to accelerate learning for each student. 

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