The biggest piece of our work is bringing awareness to the fact that there are many more kids with dyslexia in our schools than those that have already been identified. I think that is actually really powerful to be able to align that percentage of students who are at risk with what clinically valid studies show is the actual prevalence rate. The first step in starting the conversation is to say, “There is a need and we need to figure out how to serve that need.”
There are 10 million children who have dyslexia, but the problem isn't isolated to schools. We found that 47% of incarcerated individuals have dyslexia which is more than twice that of the general population. So not only does dyslexia have several short-term impacts but it has also significant long-term impacts. Individuals with dyslexia are less likely to go to college, more likely to drop out, and more likely to end up incarcerated2.
What we're trying to do right now is close that action gap. We need reliable tools to be able to identify these individuals, like the Shaywitz DyslexiaScreen. We feel confident about quickly getting the results that we need to make further decisions. To me, that is an easy fit in terms of scalability in solving a problem that impacts so many.
What led you to choose the tools you're using?
The Dyslexia Resource Center has been operating for six years and one of the very first projects that we worked on was a prison study. We were looking at the prevalence rates of dyslexia in incarcerated individuals, and on that very first project we were beta testing for the Adolescent-Adult and Corrections forms of the Shaywitz DyslexiaScreen.
Bennett and Sally Shaywitz are experts in the field and have been doing this work for over four decades. The Shaywitz DyslexiaScreen is psychometrically valid for identifying students and adults at risk for dyslexia, and we believed there really was nothing that could compare. Having something that is psychometrically valid, easy to use, inexpensive, and easy to implement, the screener is really closely aligned with the problem we're trying to help solve in our communities.
We had had a partnership with Sally and Bennett Shaywitz at Yale and they've obviously worked very closely with Pearson. They actually made that connection, introducing us to the Pearson Clinical Assessment dyslexia team.
How did these tools help you overcome your challenges?
On the Shaywitz DyslexiaScreen side, there is a really nice report that you can share with families. What I love about the report is that it has recommendations from Sally Shaywitz. It provides next steps and outlines what you should be looking for. Not just on the school side or the institution side, but for the families as well. It’s really important to close that communication gap. Families are going to get that report and know how to navigate what they need to do next which I think is really wonderful. You can quickly and easily screen a wide range of people at one time and it's so easy to roll up that data. It doesn’t just give you the data in number format; it performs the analysis and provides beautiful charts so when you are talking to a superintendent about the impact of dyslexia in their schools, you can visually show them what you're talking about (without having to create those charts yourself).
On the aimswebPlus™ side, I really appreciate the ability to track fluency, the biggest adversity for individuals with dyslexia. In our work with remediating students with dyslexia, tracking fluency is a big focus. There is an oral reading fluency measure with national percentiles, but what’s really lovely for the practitioners and the therapists that I work with is that it translates nicely into a Lexile level which helps them to pick instructional materials for building fluency. It also helps them communicate with parents about what their student should be reading out loud at home — all of which is built right into the platform. This really allows the teacher to analyze each student’s progress and look at it on a student level which helps inform their instruction.
We have learned so much through our partnership with you. Thank you!
The biggest highlight is that this really has been a partnership. Speaking strictly from a business perspective, we've always experienced excellent customer service. Any questions I've ever had are answered very quickly, and any time we want to order a new product or have a question, that's always handled really quickly. It takes all the different components of our world to really make a strong impact in big ways for students and families. Being able to have this partnership and working on those areas where we find common ground and mutual support has been a wonderful experience.
Partner with us and close the action gap in your school or district! Visit PearsonAssessments.com/Dyslexia to begin the journey.