Countless assessments and screenings can occur during the academic year for students on both the individual and group levels. One of the most basic yet most important is a universal screening assessment. This tool often serves as the first step in identifying students with unique learning styles, needs, and situations.
What Is Universal Screening?
Universal screening is a relatively short assessment that yields crucial information for your school. Requiring only a few minutes of each student’s time, these screenings help identify which students may need more academic support because of a learning difference or difficulty.
It is important to note that these screenings do not diagnose or screen for a specific learning disability but show if a child is consistently at, above, or below average in specified learning areas, such as:
- Reading fluency
- Math fluency
- Naming letters and sounds
- Word decoding
- Spatial awareness and memory
The types of assessments used rely on a variety of factors, most notably age and grade level.
What Benefits Does Universal Screening Offer?
There are many reasons your school may routinely utilize universal screenings. This tool can help students and teachers experience more support and success inside and outside the classroom.
Get a Feel for the Student Body as a Whole
Every school population is unique and diverse. Universal screening tools allow school faculty and staff to make changes and plans according to their school’s situation. Results can help leadership make decisions about which programs and areas to emphasize. For example, some gifted students may prompt the formation of new clubs and programs to keep these students engaged at their level.
Identify Students Who Are Otherwise Overlooked
Learning disabilities are a widespread issue in the United States. According to the Learning Disabilities Association of America, approximately 20% of children have a learning or attention issue. However, only 2% of public school students receive the individualized care, education, or assistance they need to succeed due to a lack of identification and diagnosis.
With a universal screening assessment, schools can identify children showing signs of a learning disability, including dyslexia, dysgraphia, dyscalculia, auditory processing disorder, and more. While students may have stayed under the radar with self-imposed coping mechanisms in place, these assessments help identify students who need further testing and intervention to succeed in school.
Track and Evaluate Your School’s Progress Overall
Most universal screening assessments occur more than once throughout the school year, allowing teachers and administrators to track individual and overall student progress within a year or across several academic periods. These assessments can help pinpoint strengths and weaknesses in individuals, as well as in curriculum, instruction, and overall accommodations in the school, class by class, grade by grade.
What’s the Next Step for Your Students?
With universal screening assessments, you can help start the process for students who need further evaluation, including Tests of Dyslexia (TOD), memory, phonological awareness, and more. Learn more at WPS about how you can help kids in your school using their assessment tools.