The Goal: It is compulsory for schools to utilize data to improve student outcomes by identifying student needs and directing instruction. The analysis of student data must be a priority of all educators, in all schools and districts. The continued success of students is best achieved though a sustainable assessment and implementation system that chronicles students (as individuals and as members of particular groups) in their ongoing attainment of specific reading, language, writing, and other learning skills.

Data-driven decision-making and instruction

All districts, schools, and education staff will become familiar with data analysis, data interpretation, and data use to inform plans of actions and instruction that assist individual students in achieving grade-level reading proficiency.

By utilizing concrete data to guide instructional decisions, districts, schools, and teachers will be able to determine the changing needs of their students and to target specific resources needed to achieve grade-level proficiency for each student.

Data will also be used to track the impact of staff development efforts and student learning to ensure that students are on track for postsecondary or workforce success.

States shall require that all districts, schools, and education staff become familiar with state data systems, requirements, and analysis:
1. Collecting and interpreting both school and student data to include screening and systematic assessments of progress 2. Data sharing 3. Framing questions from analysis of multiple sets of data reports 4. Creating plans to assist individual student achievement.
States shall require that all districts and schools:
1. Establish a school-wide data use plan and an ongoing review of implementation of that plan to monitor student progress toward goals 2. Guide and support teachers in use of data for instructional improvement to meet the needs of students and to support students in reaching their goals 3. Support and lead both students and their parents to be on track for postsecondary success by selecting goals and monitoring their progress toward those goals 4. Ensure that student- and school-level data needs are incorporated in the planning and implementation of district-wide data management systems.
Data shall continuously be used to identify root causes of student learning and improve student outcomes. Using data, all districts, schools, and teachers will collect, analyze, and require:
1. Clear assessment of students' needs 2. The expertise to target resources to address students' needs 3. The ability to set students' goals 4. The aptitude to determine whether the goals are being reached 5. The ability to track the impact of staff development efforts

Student Screening

To ensure that every student is ready and able to read for knowledge by grade 3, early intervention with SEEDS is essential.

  • All students Pre-K-12, enrolled or enrolling in public schools, shall be screened and assessed for literacy attainment.
  • Appropriate supports shall be provided until proficient grade-level reading skills are secured.

Districts, schools, and charter schools must establish:
1. Written procedures for screening, assessing, and recommending students at risk for literacy failure within General Education settings 2. Internal procedures that address the needs of their student populations
Frequency of Screening:
All entering kindergarten students will be screened for potential characteristics of SEEDS during the first, early weeks of reading instruction, again before the winter break, and also in the spring to evaluate reading progress. Every student in grades 1, 2, and 3 shall be systematically assessed every two to three weeks during reading development stages of instruction to ensure that they are making appropriate gains in achievement of grade-level reading. Parents, guardians, students, school nurses, classroom teachers, or other school personnel who have data to support that a student has a need for diagnostic testing in any grade may request such screening. The assessment shall be conducted within 30 days.
Students Not at Grade Level:
Students receiving below-grade-level scores shall be provided intervention support within a week. When interventions do not yield grade-level results within 30 days, more intensive intervention shall be implemented. If a student is found to be at serious risk for literacy failure, the school district, school, or charter school must notify the students' parent or guardian and implement MTSS until they are reading at grade level. If a student continues to struggle with one or more components of reading and/or experiences literacy failure, districts, schools, and charter schools must collect additional information about the student.
Additional Data Collection Requirements for Underperforming Students:
1. Vision screening 2. Hearing screening 3. Samples of school work
4. Basal reading series assessment 5. Accommodations provided by classroom teachers 6. Academic progress reports (report cards)
7. Teacher reports of classroom concerns 8. Parent conferences 9. Speech and language screening through a referral
Assessment Diagnosis Results:
No indication of need for services Indication of need for MTSS (Tier II) in general education reading services Indication of need for assistance to improve the effect of general education reading instruction through intense intervention services (MTSS-Tier III) Referral for further formal diagnostic assessment for the existence of SEEDS factors and eligibility for the receipt of Special Education services
The District Office shall: 1. Report to the district-level committee the results of the assessment and reading instruments for each student 2. Report, in writing, to a student's parent or guardian the student's results on the assessment and reading instrument

Screening Assessment Specialists

  • All screening assessments must be done directly by trained specialists (certified teachers of reading, guidance counselors, pupil appraisal personnel, or any other professional employees of the school system)
  • The number of hours in each must be documented. Retraining is not necessary if any previous training can be documented within the last three years. See for approved screening/assessment instruments.

Screening Assessment Specialist Training Requirements:
1. Identification and knowledge of:
b. Characteristics of ADD and HD
c. Characteristics of social, cultural, and emotional at-risk literacy failure factors
d. Characteristics of gifted SEEDS
2. Use of appropriate screening instruments 3. Administration and interpretation of selected screening instruments
4. Operation and procedures of school building level committee 5. Selection of appropriate classroom strategies, accommodations, and modifications 6. Child advocacy

Formal Assessment

If a student demonstrates performance below his or her age, grade, or intellectual development in one or more areas of reading and/or spelling, the district, school, or charter school may recommend that a diagnostic assessment be administered.

Formal assessments are dependent on multiple factors, including:
1. Student's reading performance 2. Reading difficulties 3. Poor response to supplemental scientifically-based reading instruction (MTSS) 4. Teachers' input 5. Input from the parents or guardians
When a formal assessment is administered, the following procedures must be adhered to:
1. Notify parents or guardians of proposal to perform a formal diagnostic assessment on a student 2. Inform parents or guardians of their rights 3. Obtain permission from the parent or guardian to assess the student
Tests, assessments, diagnostics, and other evaluation materials must:
1. Be validated for the specific purpose for which they are being used 2. Include material tailored to assess specific areas of educational need 3. Be selected and administered to accommodate the student's sensory, manual, and speaking-skills needs 4. Include multiple measures of a student's reading abilities
The following reading areas must included in the assessment:
1. Reading real and nonsense words in isolation (decoding) 2. Phonological awareness 3. Letter knowledge (name and associated sound) 4. Rapid naming
5. Reading fluency (rate and accuracy) 6. Reading comprehension 7. Written spelling
Additional areas that may be assessed include:
1. Vocabulary 2. Written expression 3. Handwriting 4. Mathematics

Additional Needs for English Language Learners (ELL) / Limited English Proficiency (LEP) Students

The identification and service delivery process for ELL/LEP SEEDS must be in step with the students' linguistic environment and educational background.

Additional data recommendations for ELL/LEP students:
1. Home language survey 2. Oral language proficiency assessment 3. Linguistic environment and second-language acquisition development 4. Previous schooling in and outside of the United States 5. Comprehensive oral language proficiency testing in English and the student's native language whenever possible
This data shall be used to determine:
1. Whether the student's current classroom setting is appropriate given his or her language abilities 2. The appropriate languages for assessing the student's academic achievement and cognitive processing 3. The degree to which language proficiency in both the first and second language influences or explains the student's test performance on the academic achievement and cognitive processing measures 4. Whether the student's difficulties in reading are the result of a disability or a reflection of the normal process of second language acquisition
Personnel involved in evaluating ELL/LEP SEEDS must be trained in bilingual assessment and interpretation procedures. It is also recommended that they have knowledge in the following areas:
1. Understanding of first and second language acquisition stages 2. Impact of culture on student performance 3. Knowledge regarding bilingual education and English as a second language programming and MTSS teaching methods 4. Knowledge in how to interpret results of students' oral language proficiency in relation to the results of the test measuring academic achievement and cognitive processes 5. Understanding of how to interpret results of similar or parallel tests given in more than one language
ELL/LEP SEEDS assessment results shall consider the student's:
1. Language development (in both English and the student's native language) 2. Educational history 3. Linguistic background 4. Socioeconomic issues 5. Any other pertinent factors that impact learning

Student Identification

SEEDS determination:
After reviewing all accumulated data, a district, school, or charter school team or committee of knowledgeable persons determines whether the student is a SEEDS by considering the following areas:
1. Observations of the teacher, district, charter school staff, parent, or guardian 2. Data gathered from the classroom 3. Data-based documentation of student progress during instruction and intervention 4. Results of administered assessments 5. All other accumulated data regarding the development of the student's learning and his or her educational needs
A committee of knowledgeable persons must also incorporate the following guidelines while considering a student's identification:
1. Whether the student has received MTSS instruction 2. Whether the student has an unexpected lack of appropriate academic progress (in the areas of reading and spelling) relative to their age, grade, or intellectual development 3. Whether the student has adequate intelligence (an average ability to learn in the absence of print or in other academic areas) 4. Whether the student exhibits characteristics associated with SEEDS 5. Whether the student's lack of progress is due to sociocultural factors such as language differences, irregular attendance, or lack of experiential background
Difficulties in the area of reading for SEEDS will reflect unexpectedly low performance for the student's age and educational level in the following areas:
1. Reading real words in isolation 2. Decoding nonsense words 3. Reading fluency (both rate and accuracy) 4. Written spelling
Unexpectedly low reading performance, including reading fluency, will be the result of a deficit in phonological processing, including the following:
1. Phonological awareness 2. Rapid naming 3. Phonological memory

Referral to Special Education Students with additional factors that complicate SEEDS may require additional support or referral to Special Education
At any time during the assessment for reading failure identification process or instruction, students may be referred for evaluation for Special Education.
If a SEEDS is found eligible for Special Education in the area of reading, the school district must include appropriate reading instruction on the student's Individualized Education Program (IEP) and follow the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA).
SEEDS is considered one of a variety of etiological foundations for "specific learning disability.
The term includes such conditions as perceptual disability, brain injury, minimal brain dysfunction, dyslexia, and developmental aphasia The term does not apply to students who have learning problems that are primarily the result of visual, hearing, or motor disabilities; of mental retardation; of emotional disturbance; or of environmental, cultural, or economic disadvantage

Executive Summary