Blog

  • 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  

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  • 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  

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  • 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.

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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.

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  • The dust has settled. Now what?

    The hubbub and chaos of the first days of school are behind you, and your days are filled with getting to know each of your new students. Perhaps a rogue paper airplane that landed at the foot of your desk while you were facing the whiteboard has already prompted a seating change. Perhaps the little boy who comes in each morning and rattles off random facts has inspired you to add a supplementary unit on the history of drinking straws. Perhaps you’re already planning your escape (kidding!). At any rate, whatever the first few weeks had in store for you, you are looking toward the future, and planning your next steps with your new students.

    What’s next?

    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. September’s activities are crucial to your students’ reading success, and will set you on the path to discovering the lifelong reader in each of them!
     

    Download the calendar
     

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  • Get ready to soar to new heights!

    Two students reading

    “Reading is essential for those who seek to rise above the ordinary.”
    – Jim Rohn

    Reading helps us grow, takes us to places we’ve never been, and opens up opportunities we’d otherwise might never have. Reading is the basis for all learning — and our team places a high value on both. Like opening the cover to a new book, each school year is a chance to transform your students into lifelong learners and avid adventurers through reading.

    Just as each student is unique, so, too, are their reading skills. Where one student may have a firm grip on context, they may struggle with retention. Some of your students may be reading two grades ahead while others are at grade level — or two grades behind. Determining each student’s individual reading abilities for each skill can be overwhelming, especially considering back-to-school is already packed to the gills with activity and excitement.

    Enter the Developmental Reading Assessment, now in its third edition (a.k.a. DRA3). Its authors have researched, revamped, and reengineered it to not only make your students better readers, but to make your day easier. We understand that learning how to use a new or updated assessment can be daunting, especially in the beginning of the school year, but we’ve been burning the midnight oil to make sure that you’ve got all of the training and support you need right at your fingertips. We’ve also put together a reading assessment calendar to help guide you through the school year, outlining important activities for each month, as well as pertinent events.

    August’s calendar is full of training and planning, and ours is no exception! Both are excellent means to ensuring a successful year, full of growth and adventure. We are honored to have a hand in this year’s adventures, and are right by your side if you need us!

    Download the calendar

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  • DRA3: Empowering teachers. Engaging students.

    Female reading book to child

    Here's to beginnings…

    33 years ago, when teachers Joetta Beaver and Dr. Mark Carter saw a need for and developed the Developmental Reading Assessment™, they could only dream that it would find its way into as many schools, and affected as many students as it has. Luckily for all of us, their dedication to expanding the horizons of readers everywhere didn't end there! Now in its third edition, the DRA™3 is about to hit the mailboxes of teachers everywhere, and this version will knock your socks off!

    While beginning the process of updating the DRA™2, we reached out to our customers to find out what was most important to them. 97% told us that the latest research and field studies to support its validity were important to them, 96% looked for a positive experience for the student, while 95% felt that an ample selection of fiction and non-fiction leveled books for all reading levels was a priority. 89% looked for an all-inclusive kit with reading benchmarking, word analysis, and progress monitoring, 89% utilize teaching tools to improve their efficiency and effectiveness, and 88% would appreciate built-in professional development.

    We took all of this valuable educator feedback and combined it with field studies and updated research and are thrilled with the result. DRA3 isn't simply the premier developmental reading assessment, it's an all-inclusive solution for transforming students into lifelong readers!

    Here's what one of our team members had to say about it: "The DRA3 provides teachers with the in-depth information they need to help their students become proficient, enthusiastic readers. With over 100 Benchmark Assessment Books at 23 reading levels, as well as Word Analysis and Progress Monitoring options, DRA3 is a comprehensive assessment system to engage and support developing readers in Grades K–8." – Erin Gunelson, Senior Product Manager for DRA3

    "The 'cream' of DRA is the Focus for Instruction page."
    - February 2019 Reading Assessment Survey

    What's new with DRA3?

    We're glad you asked! One great new feature is the Level Estimator which identifies the best starting levels for younger students or new students entering your school or district. The entire solution is also available on a digital system that offers teachers a web-based platform to assess, score, report, manage data, and create and monitor individual student reading plans — all in the same place. This data follows individual students through each grade allowing for a smooth transition and easy access to historical data. The digital platform includes a few extra reports as well, such as:

    • 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)

    In a nutshell, DRA3 puts all of the tools you need to engage your students in their reading progress in one place. Its streamlined assessment, instruction, and progress monitoring workflow empowers teachers and students alike!

    Ready to transform your students into lifelong readers? Learn more about DRA3 at pearsonassessments.com/DRA3!

     

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