|Response to Intervention: Essential Components - Universal Screening|
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Universal screening is a type of assessment that is characterized by the administration of quick, low-cost, repeatable testing of age-appropriate skills to all students.
To determine the effectiveness of curriculum, instruction, and school organization, and to determine students’ level of proficiency in essential academic areas, schools administer screenings to all students, usually three times a year. Screening data are organized in a format that allows for the inspection of both group performance and individual student performance on specific skills.
The information derived from universal screening provides two useful pieces of information. First, it shows how functional the core curriculum and instruction are in the school. In a multi-tiered model of school support, about 80% of all students in the school should be showing adequate progress using a particular curricular element or program. If more than 20% of the students are not making acceptable gains in an area, the school must improve the core curriculum and/or the manner in which the curriculum is delivered to the students.
Secondly, universal screening identifies those students who are not making acceptable progress in the core curriculum. Provided that 80% or more are making adequate progress in the foundational curriculum, those who are not require additional intervention, either in small groups or on an individual basis.
Universal screens may be repeated with a small group of students, to determine whether or not lower scores represent skill deficits (“can’t do’s”) or performance deficits (“won’t do’s”).
National Research Council on Learning Disabilities (NRCLD). (2006). Integrating RtI Within the SLD Determination Process. National SEA Conference on SLD Determination, Kansas City: April, 2006.
Examples of Universal Screenings
Other Resources on Universal Screening
SERC Library Holdings on Universal Screening
Luterman, David M. 2001. Counseling Persons With Communication Disorders and Their Families. Pro-Ed, Austin, TX: 205 pp.
McCook, John E. (Ed.). 2006. The RtI Guide: Developing and Implementing a Model in Your Schools. LRP Publications, Horsham, PA: 145 pp.
Sprague, Jeffrey R. 2005. Safe and Healthy Schools: Practical Prevention Strategies. The Guilford Press, NY: 180 pp.