Blog

  • Making the turn into 2020

    Laptop displaying DRA3 Online report for Oral Reading Summary

    Can you believe we are here, talking about mid-year progress... already?? Fall is flashing by as quickly as summer did, and before we know it, colorful lights will be surrounding our windows, houses, and trees! Our bright little learners are bursting with excitement for the holiday season, and while it may seem like school is winding down for this calendar year, checking their mid-year reading skills progress is a fantastic way to maximize learning when school resumes after winter break!

    December to-dos:

    1. Continue using Progress monitoring with identified students.
    2. Plan and continue to model, teach, and support the areas identified in need of instruction on the Class profile form for small groups or the whole class.
    • Oral Reading Rate, Phrasing and expression (Use appropriate leveled passages from Progress Monitoring for repeated readings. See Routine Card 11–13 for routines to improve oral reading fluency.)
    • Oral retellings and written summaries (See Blackline Masters at the end of the Teacher Guides.)

    Enhancing reading progress through independent reading

    When kids have access to books on topics that interest them, they read more often and for longer periods of time... often without too much prodding. In an effort to help you guide your students’ parents in choosing the right book for their child’s age and interests, we’ve included a list of titles separated by grade level. They’re adapted from the Association for Library Service to Children and are part of their 2019 Notable Books list.

    Please choose from the following age groups, and download the appropriate PDF to send to your students’ parents.

    What’s on the calendar for 2020?

    One of the most important tasks in any school year is discovering each student’s literacy strengths and weaknesses. Identifying where they might need a little help, and how you can utilize their strengths to augment that support will help them make the most of their educational time. We have put together a reading assessment calendar to help you stay on track throughout the year, and to provide you with helpful tools to enhance your reading curriculum. December’s activities are crucial to your students’ reading success, and will set you on the path to discovering — and fostering — the lifelong reader in each of them!

    Download the calendar  

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  • Where does individuality end and true delay begin?

    Photo of Teacher with Students

    Human beings are inherently unique. From eye, skin, and hair color to height, weight, and overall build, no two people are exactly alike. Even identical twins have at least one physical trait that differentiates one from the other.

    Just as each person is unique physically, so, too are they in their developmental abilities. Where one infant may smile and begin communicating nonverbally at 6 weeks of age, another might roll over at 10 weeks, then smile for the first time. One baby might not ever crawl, but completely stun their parents by pulling themselves up on a chair leg at 10 months and toddling across the kitchen. One baby might sing themselves the “Happy Birthday song” on their first birthday while another doesn’t start communicating verbally until after their second.

    Although early childhood experts have general guidelines for milestones, each child is unique in their own development. That being said, knowing when a baby or young child is truly delayed is often critical to making sure they receive the interventions necessary to get them — and keep them — on track.

    Areas of development to screen for:

    • Physical development
      • sensory abilities: acuity, discrimination, perception
      • fine motor skills, gross motor skills
    • Cognitive development (intellectual abilities)
    • Communication development (speech and language)
    • Social or emotional development (social skills, emotional control)
    • Adaptive development (self-care skills)

    Screening for developmental delays gives you a closer look at their overall abilities to determine where additional support may be necessary. The Early Screening Inventory, Third Edition gives you the tools needed to individually screen kids ages 3:0–5:11 in several areas of development. In short, ESI™-3 makes finding the kids that need extra support... easier.

    Read the previous articles in this series.

    For more information on developmental screening with the ESI-3, visit PearsonAssessments.com/ESI-3.  

     

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  • Are you prepared to serve the growing population of ELLs?

    Five children

    According to the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES), the number of English Language Learner (ELL) students in the US rose from 3.8 million (8.1%) in 2000 to 4.8 million (9.5%) in the fall of 2015. This 20% growth in the number of ELL students prompts several important questions, two of which are, “How can we help this growing population succeed in school and beyond?” and “What tools do we need to do so?”

    Language is the basis for all learning, which poses a problem when a student isn’t fluent in the language spoken in their school. Despite this challenge, ELLs are expected to meet the same standards of their English-speaking classmates, and as a result, are falling drastically behind. According to a recent study, only 63% of ELLs graduate from high school, compared to 82% of non-ELLs — and of those who graduate, only 1.4% go on to take college entrance exams.

    Academics isn’t the only area where these students are running into trouble. While 1 in 10 US students are ELLs, only 7% of school psychologists surveyed are proficient (not fluent) in Spanish, 1.3% are proficient in Sign Language, and 5.3% are proficient in 27 other languages. This discrepancy is alarming as it clearly indicates an immense gap in a typical school’s ability to address these students’ diverse needs.

    What are practical guidelines for serving the ELL population?

    Get the practical guidelines for working with English Language Learners.

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  • It’s time for parent-teacher conferences!

    Laptop displaying DRA3 Online report for Oral Reading Summary

    Streamline your preparations with DRA3’s online reports.

    For some students, nothing conjures up greater anxiety than these three words: parent-teacher conferences. What will my teacher(s) have to say? Have I done everything I can to get a good report? Am I doing well?? Concurrently, parents have similar concerns. What will their teacher(s) have to say? Have I done everything I can to help my child succeed in school? Are they doing well? Taking time out to make sure that you have all of the information related to each student’s progress can be an overwhelming task at a time of year when their attention span is already waning with the upcoming holidays. Math grades, outcome tests, science grades, reading skills progress, social studies… the list of reports and papers is seemingly endless.

    DRA3 can take care of one big item on that list — reading skills progress. Our powerful online platform gives you unlimited access to:

    • Class Roster Report
    • Student Action Plan
    • Student Assessment History
    • Assessment Instance Results
    • Parent Report
    • Student Performance Over Time
    • Class Skills Summary
    • School/District Benchmark Scoring Report
    • School/District Data Across Seasons (and Across Years)

    What’s on the calendar for November?

    One of the most important tasks in any school year is discovering each student’s literacy strengths and weaknesses. Identifying where they might need a little help, and how you can utilize their strengths to augment that support will help them make the most of their educational time. We have put together a reading assessment calendar to help you stay on track throughout the year, and to provide you with helpful tools to enhance your reading curriculum. October’s activities are crucial to your students’ reading success, and will set you on the path to discovering — and fostering — the lifelong reader in each of them!

    Download the calendar  

    Read more
  • Are your students in need of extra support?

    Teacher with young students

    The connections for learning, behavior, and health in a child’s brain are the most flexible when they are young, and over time, these connections become harder to change. As with any other skill, the sooner a child receives intervention for developmental delays, the better their outcomes typically are. Developmental screening is the most effective way to identify children who need further evaluation in order to get them the support they need sooner rather than later.

    Developmental screening should be used to:

    1. Identify children who may be in need of further evaluation
    2. Assist teachers in getting to know their students’:
      • Cognition
      • Adaptive skills
      • Language skills
      • Fine and gross motor skills
    3. Help prevent severe delays from going unrecognized

    Developmental screening should not be used as:

    • A means to make a diagnostic decision
    • A school entry or readiness test
    • An achievement test

    A typical developmental screening tool will contain items such as name, color recognition, printing letters, picture recognition, rote counting, and identifying body parts. The Early Screening Inventory, Third Edition (ESI-3) goes beyond these “typical” categories to help attain a deeper understanding of a child’s abilities.

    ESI-3:

    • Measures visual motor-adaptive skills through block building, copy forms, and visual-sequential memory to help understand how a child can coordinate their visual capacities with their fine motor abilities.
    • Connects language and cognition with number concepts rather than just rote counting, and verbal expression rather than just identifying objects.
    • Measures verbal reasoning which enables them complete analogies, and auditory-sequential memory which enables them to recall items in a particular sequence.
    • Measures gross motor skills through balancing, hopping, and skipping.

    Hear about the importance of developmental screening, and the power of the ESI-3 from its author, Dr. Miesels!

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  • Interventions, instruction, and progress monitoring — oh my!

    Teacher and student

    Plan your reading assessment activities in less time than your costume

    Fall is officially here, accompanied by cooler weather, football games, apple picking, pumpkin carving, hay rides, and all of the thrills — and chills — of Halloween. Does your school allow costumes for Halloween? Are you dreading the veins-full-of-sugar Friday after? (We all are!) No matter what frights your students have in store for you this month, you can rest easy knowing that the DRA3 Reading Assessment calendar will keep you on track with your students’ literacy support.

    What’s on the calendar for October?

    One of the most important tasks in any school year is discovering each student’s literacy strengths and weaknesses. Identifying where they might need a little help, and how you can utilize their strengths to augment that support will help them make the most of their educational time. We have put together a reading assessment calendar to help you stay on track throughout the year, and to provide you with helpful tools to enhance your reading curriculum. October’s activities are crucial to your students’ reading success, and will set you on the path to discovering — and fostering — the lifelong reader in each of them!

    Download the calendar  

    Read more
  • Early childhood development and the 10 indicators of risk

    Now that you’ve watched Gloria Maccow’s video answering the five basic questions about early childhood development, you might be wondering how you can identify the children in your care who may need extra support. HeadStart has provided an Early Learning Outcomes Framework (HSELOF) which presents five broad areas of early learning — central domains — which reflect research-based expectations for learning and development. The framework emphasizes the key skills, behaviors, and knowledge that programs must foster in children ages birth to 5 to help them be successful in school and life:

    • Cognition
    • Language and literacy
    • Approaches to learning
    • Social and emotional development
    • Perception, motor, and physical development

    There are some well-known indicators for identifying children who may be at risk or need extra support.

    The 10 indicators of risk:

    1. Difficulties following directions or routines
    2. Clumsy (gross and/or fine motor skills)
    3. Difficulties interacting with peers
    4. Talked late compared to peers
    5. Slow vocabulary growth
    6. Extremely restless and easily distracted
    7. Poor articulation
    8. Difficulty naming known objects quickly
    9. Poor phonological awareness skills
    10. Poor letter-naming skills/math skills

    While some of these are typical of any young child, none should be discounted, and further screening is recommended. Using a tool that aligns with the HeadStart Framework is important to ensure you are measuring a child’s progress against a well-known and respected standard.

    Early Screening Inventory, Third Edition (ESI-3) aligns with HeadStart, and can quickly identify where they may need additional support in or outside of the classroom, with reporting that can be shared with parents.

    Place an order  

     

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  • Factors that influence assessment outcomes

    Person with thought bubble

    By Chris Huzinec, MS, and Anne-Marie Kimbell, PhD, MSEd

    Assessment performance is rarely a straightforward process. While the tests being used have varying degrees of standardization and psychometric properties, the most effective are those that have robust reliability and validity. However, their results can be skewed by factors relating to the student, client, patient, or clinician — even the testing environment or testing process itself can affect the outcome.

    Is the student being tested developmentally delayed? Do they have physical disabilities such as a visual impairment or hearing loss? Did they get enough sleep the night before? Have they eaten that day? Is there a language difference? Perhaps the tester’s physical or mental state is less than optimal, or they are unfamiliar with the testing materials.

    Testing adults with fidelity can also be hampered by outside influences such as literacy, substance abuse, language, and many other factors.

    Even when thorough assessment procedures are followed, conditions are present during the testing session that can affect performance, scores, and, as a consequence, test results. Being aware of these factors and their potential impact on the testing process is important to ensure maximum performance and accurate results.

    Read the full brief
     

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