The right universal screening tool should provide key information to departments, teams, and roles. By using FastBridge, districts save dollars, testing time, and professional development hours while consolidating systems and reporting.
What is a CBM?
What is a CAT?
Social-Emotional Behavior (SEB)
- Determine skill gaps
- Class/Grade recommendations
- Leveled reading program comparisons
- Individualized intervention and progress monitoring recommendations
Support all K-12 learners in your district with FastBridge’s universal screening tools, which are aligned to your state’s ELA and math learning standards, as well as Common Core State Standards Initiative.
Universal screening is the process of gathering academic and social-emotional behavior (SEB) data about all the students in a class, grade, school, or district to identify which students need additional support to meet student learning goals. Teachers use universal screening data to determine student readiness for Tier 1 core instruction and identify students who need additional instruction or intervention. Universal screening is an essential component of an effective multi-tiered system of support (MTSS).
The most common example of universal screening is a computer adaptive test (CAT) which identifies each student’s current instructional level in math or reading. When taking a CAT, each student starts with items at his or her grade level, but then the items adapt based on answers to prior questions. In this way, the assessment identifies each student’s current skill level. This means that students could be administered items at their grade level, above their grade level, and even below their grade level, depending on each individual item response.
Universal screening measures two important things:
- All students’ current skills as compared to grade level learning goals
- Individual students who might need additional instruction and if so, what type
Universal screening is a type of formative assessment that provides teachers with information about student readiness for instruction. By conducting screening three times a year, teachers have multiple opportunities to adjust instruction in relation to students’ needs. For students who are lacking key skills, teachers can use screening data alongside other information to determine what type of additional instruction makes sense.
It’s important that screening occurs periodically throughout the school year to regularly assess student performance. In this regard, screening provides formative data that helps teachers adjust instruction during the school year. Students do not always progress at the same rate. For example, students who perform adequately at the fall screening may show decreased growth at the winter screening period, indicating a need for instructional changes. We recommend conducting screening three times per year (fall, winter, and spring) for students in Kindergarten through fifth grade in the areas of math, reading, and social-emotional behavior. In middle school, screenings can be less frequent if other data show adequate student growth. In high school, typically universal screening is conducted only in ninth grade because there are other sources of information that teachers can use to plan instruction.
Teachers can use universal screening data to compare a child's academic and social-emotional behavior (SEB) data with school-based expectations for learning. Universal screening is similar to screenings that physicians conduct routinely. Just as blood pressure or body temperature checks are brief, easy, reliable indicators of overall health, academic and SEB screenings indicate the overall “health” of a school, class, or individual child. For students whose universal screening data indicate academic and social health, no additional steps are needed. For those whose screening scores indicate a problem, the teacher can gather additional information just as a physician does.
When selecting an assessment tool for use in academic and social-emotional behavior universal screening, educators should be careful to select a tool that is:
- developed through research and evidence-based;
- standardized, reliable, and valid;
- usable and feasible; and
- appropriate for use in school settings.
Yes, universal screening can be accomplished with remote learning. The primary benefit to conducting universal screening during remote learning is having continuous data about all students for the school year. Such data can help to inform student learning needs when students return to in-person learning. When possible, we recommend using computer-administered assessments during an online session so that the teacher can observe students and answer any questions. Doing so will allow for ongoing data collection with limited effects from a new testing environment, and they are the easiest and most reliable assessments for both students and teachers to use.