FastBridge Assessment Basics
FastBridge has successfully supported hundreds of implementations of varying sizes, ranging from small and medium school districts to larger districts supporting tens of thousands of students to statewide custom implementation. The largest single-district subscriber utilizing FastBridge supports 100,000 students. The largest multi-district subscriber utilizing FastBridge supports more than 250,000 students.
Our retention and satisfaction rates are high, averaging more than 85 percent year-over-year. As a trusted national tool, FastBridge administered more than 27 million assessments during the 2020-2021 school year in support of schools in 49 states, including a statewide adoption in Iowa for reading assessment.
FastBridge provides three types of assessments, CAT, CBM and observation-based assessments that come together in one powerful, multi-modal, comprehensive solution. Assessments can be used alone or in tandem to screen, monitor, diagnose, and inform instruction. FastBridge assessments address three critical areas of learning: reading, math and social-emotional behavior (SEB).
Partial solutions (such as CAT-only or CBM-only assessments) require districts to piece together multiple products and most don’t include one of the fastest-growing and crucial measures of student success: SEB assessments. FastBridge is a unique online system that helps K-12 educators improve student outcomes through innovations such as an all-in-one solution, expert data analysis and coaching to successfully implement a tiered system of support. We are truly an all-in-one solution, and through the power of combined assessment types, we can offer more information and more precision.
We created FastBridge to transform the way teachers identify and track student progress and intervene for growth — so they spend up to 50 percent less time testing and more time teaching. FastBridge assessments are built to be efficient without sacrificing accuracy. FastBridge accurately identifies and groups students by risk as well as, or better than, other tools while saving time. Teachers receive student learning data quicker, which again enables them to spend less time testing and more time teaching.
FastBridge assessments span grades K-12 in reading, math and behavior. Here’s a breakdown of the grade spans covered by each assessment:
The following tables capture the administration time of FastBridge’s measures for reading and math.
FastBridge Learning recommends using norm-referenced standards to guide resource allocation within a school or district’s Multi-Tiered System of Supports (MTSS) framework and provides both local and national norms.
The local norms include the class, school and district whenever at least 70 percent of students in the group have completed the screening assessment. National norms, based on all of the students who completed the same FastBridge assessment, are always displayed. FastBridge also provides stratified representative norms. Additional information explaining the way FastBridge measures provide norm-referenced data can be found in our Norming and Benchmarking document.
FastBridge is an evidence-based formative assessment system that was developed by researchers at the University of Minnesota in cooperation with others from around the country. It began in 2005 with competitive funding from the U.S. Department of Education to build knowledge about and improve educational assessments. FastBridge is how we disseminate that work. The team set out to offer teachers an easier way to access and use the highest quality formative assessments. Researchers and developers are continuously engaged with teachers and other users to refine and develop the best solutions for them.
FastBridge’s Research & Development team operates in partnership with the Department of Educational Psychology in the College of Education and Human Development at the University of Minnesota, with contributors at research institutions across the country including: Temple University, University of Missouri, University of Georgia, University of Nebraska, University of Buffalo, and Penn State University. Our R&D team has been on the forefront of research and development with regard to educational assessment for decades, specializing in General Outcome Measurement (GOM), CBM, CAT, problem-solving, Response to Intervention (RTI), and Multi-Tiered System of Supports (MTSS).
FastBridge is more than just an assessment and intervention platform. It’s also a secure, scalable environment to conduct research into innovative new assessment items and capabilities. Our robust online platform provides a unique method for collaboration between the groups that comprise FastBridge Research Labs: university teams, districts and their educators, and FastBridge Learning. FastBridge Research Labs is a unique blend of leading university research teams, real-world school and district input and purpose-built technology to create innovative and highly effective assessments.
The FastBridge Research Lab approach is a five-step process.
When you’re using the FastBridge system, you can be confident you’re using a research-based and proven assessment tool.
Yes. A chart summarizing FastBridge SEB measures can be found below:
It is important for educators to have access to systems that support early screening and progress monitoring for all students, including those with dyslexia. Included in every FastBridge subscription is earlyReading. With earlyReading, you have the ability to screen for signs of dyslexia at the critical early grade levels (PreK-3); address student learning needs with targeted, data-driven interventions; and monitor each student’s progress toward reading goals.
FastBridge earlyReading is designed to assess both unified and component skills associated with kindergarten and first grade reading achievement. It’s intended to enable screening and progress monitoring across four domains of reading (Concepts of Print, Phonemic Awareness, Phonics, and Decoding) and provide domain-specific assessments of these component skills, as well as a general estimate of overall reading achievement. FastBridge earlyReading is an extension of CBMreading, which was initially developed by Deno and colleagues to index the level and rate of reading achievement (Deno, 1985; Shinn, 1989).
earlyReading provides the following phonological assessments:
- Onset Sounds
- Word Rhyming
- Word Blending
- Word Segmenting
Other sub-skills included in earlyReading are:
- Concepts of Print
- Letter Names
- Letter Sounds
- Decodable Words
- Nonsense Words
- Sight Words (50 and 150)
- Sentence Reading and Oral Repetition
FastBridge has been approved as a dyslexia screener in several states.
FastBridge and Your Multi-Tiered System of Support (MTSS)
FastBridge is designed for use within an MTSS and Response to Intervention (RTI) framework for early intervention and prevention of deficits and disabilities.
FastBridge was initially developed for educators to screen students and monitor progress, but it also enables educators to diagnose their curricular and instructional needs. We understand the connection between assessment, instruction and intervention. FastBridge assessments can be used in conjunction with other data to evaluate a student’s academic and social-emotional and behavioral (SEB) needs. FastBridge assessments and reports can provide insight into the needs of students within specific grades or classes; such insights are often used to evaluate and refine core instruction and curriculum (Tier 1). They also can provide insights into the needs of small groups (Tier 2) and individual students (Tier 3) and to help identify special education needs (e.g., serving as a dyslexia screening tool).
FastBridge screening assessments can be administered up to five times each school year to provide diagnostic information about student needs. FastBridge Learning recommends screening all students three times during each school year, with fall, winter and spring being the most common times.
Each district sets its own screening period dates known as screening windows. In addition to selecting the screening dates, the District Manager also assigns which assessments will be available for use during each screening period. The default duration for screening periods is four weeks, but they can be as long as 20 weeks.
The FastBridge Learning system was initially developed for educators to screen students and monitor progress, but it also has useful features to diagnose their curricular and instructional needs. FastBridge assessments can be used in conjunction with other data to evaluate a student’s academic and behavior learning needs. FastBridge assessments and reports can provide insight into the needs of students within specific grades or classes; such insights are often used to evaluate and refine core instruction and curriculum (e.g., Tier 1). They also can provide insights into the needs of small groups (e.g., Tier 2) and individual students (e.g., Tier 3).
Two types of FastBridge reports provide unique diagnostic information to guide curricular and instructional decisions: the Screening to Intervention (s2i) and the Individual Skills Reports.
For the data in each report to be used as part of a process to diagnose the specific reason for student learning problems, it must be compared to other sources of information. Such information can include group and individual student performance on other standardized tests (e.g., state assessments) or classroom assessments. Because diagnostic decisions can result in student access to alternative educational services, consideration of multiple data points is necessary before reaching diagnostic conclusions about student performance.
FastBridge utilizes screening data from multiple assessments to accurately identify and group students by risk, identify instructional need, suggest interventions, and provide next steps and progress monitoring guidance, including which measure to use, how often and what goals to set.
This information can be found in the actionable Screening to Intervention (S2i) report, which gives districts the means to provide decision-making guidance and protocol to their users.
FastBridge Learning’s multi-modal, multi-method assessment approach shines in the FastBridge formative assessment system’s S2i report. In this powerful teaching resource, a student’s results from CBM and CAT are joined together and connect teachers to instructional and intervention recommendations based on students’ performance profiles. This report also provides recommendations for progress monitoring to determine the effectiveness of the implemented intervention or instructional change. Progress monitoring recommendations include which measure to use, how often and goal-setting guidance.
The S2i helps identify what foundational skills are missing or are weak and may need to be retaught or practiced and the level of support needed; guides teachers toward the appropriate instructional strategy to address each student’s unique needs; and points toward the appropriate intervention(s) that are available within the school or district. This tool helps automate what was previously, in schools, a laborious, often ill-informed and inconsistently executed step in the process of addressing student needs.
The S2i report is available for reading. Here is an example:
FastBridge reports provide the precise information needed to identify instructional needs at the district, school, classroom, and student levels. FastBridge collects, interprets and uses data to inform instruction by providing customized reports to identify at-risk students faster and guide teachers to the right intervention at the right time. Its easy-to-read dashboard allows teachers to continually measure, track and monitor student learning and growth for more effective teaching.
- Screening and problem identification: Accurately identify and group students by risk; report student growth rates based on fall benchmarks; and evaluate progress at the class, grade, school, district, and national levels.
- Analysis and planning: Receive individual and group skill summaries as compared to benchmarks to determine which skills may need further development.
- Intervention and monitoring: See up to three years of progress at once to view risk, track progress monitoring and intervention effectiveness, identify weak or missing foundational skills, and receive recommendations on the appropriate instructional strategy to address each student’s unique needs.
District, school, classroom, and individual student reports are available within FastBridge’s reporting system. Reports are aggregated up to the district level, so districts have access to all reports; schools have access to school, classroom and student reports; and teachers have access to classroom and student reports. Student assessment results can be aggregated up to the school and district levels. A user, depending on role, can drill down to the school, grade, class, and student level.
FastBridge Implementation & Set Up
The Implementation Management & Services team serves to ensure that districts new to the FastBridge assessment system are efficiently, effectively and successfully onboarded and implemented in alignment with district goals and outcomes. Our team works within scalable, repeatable processes which create smooth transitions into FastBridge. They coordinate with district leadership, district stakeholders and internal FastBridge stakeholders to create a positive engagement and experience.
Once FastBridge receives a purchase order from your district, you will receive a welcome communication that outlines the information we will need from you. We will need to know some basic information about your district and how you plan to use FastBridge. Once those questions are answered, we will begin setting up your account. Following account creation, the system can be used for scheduled training. The account creation process typically takes a week or less once we have all the requested information. However, if technical integrations will be part of the implementation process, the total time to get set up will typically be 3 – 5 weeks.
Assessment measures are provided via the FastBridge application. FastBridge is a web-based, hosted SaaS solution. As such, with no hardware or software to install, implementing FastBridge is simple. FastBridge requires no network or computer-based installation. Our cloud-based system is easy to implement and supported with optional automated rostering and SIS integration, nothing to install or maintain, and multi-platform and device support.
FastBridge can integrate with any Student Information System (SIS) using automated batch import. FastBridge supports SIS integrations to support automated roster uploads and Single Sign-On (SSO). FastBridge supports solutions that are compatible with Clever, OneRoster, oAUTH, and SAML 2.0. SIS or SSO solutions not already supported in FastBridge may be custom developed. The Clever service is an easy connection between FastBridge and your district’s SIS and is included in the FastBridge per-student cost.
The FastBridge application is web-based and can be accessed by users via desktop, laptop or tablet using a web browser within a Mac, Windows or Chrome operating system.
FastBridge is compatible with the following mobile devices with screen sizes of 9 inches and larger and with a minimum resolution of 970×540.
- Windows 10 Mobile Devices
- Android Tablets (4.3+)
- iPad 2 (or higher)
For specific support versions of browser or operating systems, please see our FastBridge System Requirements document.
The FastBridge system is supported with online training modules and a world-class school support team, all included as part of your subscription.
In-product support services include:
- Web-based learning: Teachers can access on-demand modules to see overviews of every assessment; view video tutorials; receive step-by-step guidance; and get certified for FastBridge navigation, screening, progress monitoring, and assessment administration.
- One-on-one technical support: Get additional help from our school support team via phone, email or live chat.
- 24/7 access to the FastBridge Formative System Knowledge Base: View a library of previously asked questions, dive into our webinar archive, participate in live chat discussions, and submit new questions to the FastBridge Learning School Support team.
- FASTflix™: Access a library of online modules designed to provide just-in-time, on-demand access to training resources that subscribing users may access 24/7 via the Training and Resources tab in FastBridge.
For the first year of implementation, we strongly recommend a two-day train-the-trainer model (FastBridge Essentials) consisting of regionally based or on-site learning for select district participants combined with our embedded online learning modules (included with FastBridge subscription) for all users. This will help build local capacity and enable cost-effective, efficient and sustainable ongoing training within districts. Our FastBridge Essentials training includes a combination of direct instruction, participant practice and demonstration of mastery.