Multiple assessments are used at Beemer Elementary to gather data about students which we use to make instructional decisions. We strive to use assessments that meet a golden standard of having strong reliability and validity.
Assessments are used for different purposes. A screening assessment is a brief measure that focuses on critical skills. We often use them at the beginning of the school year to determine which students may need additional instruction. A diagnostic assessment may be used at any time during the school year when a more in-depth analysis of a student's strengths and weaknesses is needed to better target instruction. Progress monitoring assessments are conducted on a regular basis, such as every other week, to ensure that the instruction the student is receiving is working. An outcome measure is an assessment that is used for the purpose of checking if a student has achieved grade-level performance or made improvement. Outcome measures are typically done at the end of the year or at the end of a program. One assessment, such as DIBELS, may be used for more than one purpose.
Below is a summary of our most frequently used assessments.
Dynamic Indicator of Basic Early Literacy Skills (DIBELS): It is a set of procedures and measures for assessing the acquisition of early literacy skills from kindergarten through sixth grade. They are designed to be short (one minute) fluency measures used to regularly monitor the development of early literacy and early reading skills. DIBELS are comprised of seven measures to function as indicators of phonemic awareness, alphabetic principle, accuracy and fluency with connected text, reading comprehension, and vocabulary. DIBELS were designed for use in identifying children experiencing difficulty in acquisition of basic early literacy skills in order to provide support early and prevent the occurrence of later reading difficulties.
AIMSweb: This is a type of curriculum based measurement system that we are currently using to show math progress. Our data is stored on this website so it can quickly be reported to students, parents, teachers and administrators. The actual assessment is a short math fluency measure which helps to identify children experiencing difficulty in the acquisition of basic math skills such as oral counting, basic math facts or math computation.
Gray Oral Reading Test (GORT): This test provides an efficient and objective measure of oral reading growth and helps in diagnosing oral reading difficulties. It provides the following information:
- Rate–the amount of time taken by a student to read a story
- Accuracy–the student's ability to pronounce each word in the story correctly
- Fluency–the student's Rate and Accuracy Scores combined
- Comprehension–the appropriateness of the student's responses to questions about the content of each story read
- Overall Reading Ability–a combination of a student's Fluency (i.e., Rate and Accuracy) and Comprehension Scores
Terra Nova: It is a standardized achievement test designed to provide achievement scores for educational decision-making. It assesses Reading/Language Arts, Mathematics, Science and Social Studies and compares students to a current nationwide normative group. We track progress over years and grades. The results are used to identify strengths and weaknesses of a student’s achievement in each content area, plan for further instruction, plan curriculum development and report progress to parents.
Nebraska State Assessment (NeSA): These are state-developed tests in the subject areas of reading, mathematics, science and writing. The results are publically reported each fall in the State of the Schools report and are used for both state and federal accountability reports.
Note: Parent permission would be obtained prior to testing a student to be placed in special education.