A PUBLICATION OF THE CHILDREN'S LEARNING INSTITUTE
Expanding Children’s Educational Resources
For many years, CLI has offered progress monitoring resources for early education programs, so teachers have tools to make data-based decisions in the classroom. Progress monitoring, sometimes also called “assessment”, helps teachers design instruction to meet students’ unique needs, ensuring they are ready for school success.
Understanding how vital it is for students to be ready for elementary school, as it is the launchpad to success in school and beyond, we have expanded our online options for student assessment systems. The use of progress monitoring programs in these foundational grades provides insightful information for teachers to support young learners with the skills they need to excel.
More than 80% of Texas school districts use the CIRCLE Progress Monitoring System, hosted on our platform CLI Engage, featuring quick assessments of pre-kindergarten child skills and friendly reports designed to help teachers target instruction. In 2017, we launched the Texas Kindergarten Entry Assessment (TX-KEA) in collaboration with the Texas Education Agency (TEA) and extended it into a progress monitoring system to track early school skill development to prepare students for transition to the next grade-level. This school year, we have taken assessments a step further by expanding to grades 1 and 2.
After 10 years of development and study, working in partnership with the TEA, we designed the Texas Primary Reading Inventory (TPRI) to assess students’ reading development. For students learning to read in Spanish, the counterpart Tejas LEE was developed by the University of Houston, working with TEA as co-owner. We are pleased to be able to offer these well-known and reliable resources as part of our assessment suite housed on CLI Engage. As of the beginning of the 2020-2021 school year, both systems are freely available for use by Texas public school districts and charter schools. TPRI and Tejas LEE benchmark assessments can now be used with students in grades 1 and 2 at the beginning, middle, and end of the year. By adding these diagnostic instruments to CLI Engage, it is easier than ever to assess students’ early reading skills and to identify students who may be at risk for reading difficulty.
Information derived from TPRI and Tejas LEE assists teachers in planning targeted instruction for their students. There are many additional tools available, including resources to help teachers analyze data, assist in helping determine students for intervention, and group students for differentiated instruction. As each subtest is administered, reliable reports are conveniently and instantly accessible on screen. Multiple report options objectively help teachers examine the collected data to identify areas of strength and weakness, and measure learning gains or gaps. This feedback supports teachers in adjusting their instruction to target areas of need and improve students’ skill development.
During the first few months of these new online offerings, we have already experienced significant early adoption across the state. A total of 252 communities utilized TPRI to conduct over 103,600 assessments. An additional 64 communities have used Tejas LEE to conduct almost 18,800 assessments. We anticipate continued growth as we continue to enhance our online supports for teachers and administrators.
Also launched in the fall of 2020, the Dyslexia Referral Checklist (DRC) is a new questionnaire that builds a link between direct assessment of early reading skills and classroom observations. Item content evaluates areas considered important for early reading as determined by the Texas Essential Knowledge and Skills (TEKS) domains and the Texas Education Agency’s Dyslexia Handbook (2018). Versions of the DRC are available for use in kindergarten, first, and second grade in English and Spanish. The checklists were not designed to be tied to specific progress monitoring measures, and teachers are encouraged to consider multiple sources of data when using the DRC to evaluate reading skills.
Four new early literacy screeners have been developed and are currently in the piloting phase. These measures for Decoding, Vocabulary, Spelling, and Word Reading Fluency will supplement the measures available in TPRI and Tejas LEE, as well as the Dyslexia Referral Checklist. In the future, we plan to complete work on CIRCLE Progress Monitoring 1st Grade to allow additional options for ongoing progressing monitoring and universal screening.
By providing easy-to-use digital access to highly reliable diagnostic tools, we are making reading assessment simpler for teachers, and positioning more students for success in school and later life.
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