Screening uses a systematic process for identifying students who may be at risk for poor learning outcomes, including academic, behavioral, social, emotional, school completion, and college and career readiness outcomes. Screening data can also be used to identify schools that need support due to large numbers of struggling students. The universal screening process depends on access to and use of data connected to reliable and valid indicators of the desired outcome within the selected grade levels.

To ensure accuracy of the data, educators follow initial screening with additional testing or short-term progress monitoring to confirm students’ risk status. With screening, teams select valid and reliable indicators, monitor and ensure fidelity of implementation, and use data to identify students at-risk and improve Tier 1 implementation and impact. The screening process should reflect cultural and linguistic responsiveness and recognition of student needs and strengths. 

Step 1. Design Screening Process

Teams design a screening process that is aligned to their desired outcomes and that clearly identifies the target population, administration schedule, implementation procedures, and data analysis approaches. These resources help teams consider how to design their screening process.

Step 2. Select Screening Tools

When selecting screening tools, teams consider their needs, context, and priorities as well as the technical adequacy of the measures. These resources help teams to select academic and behavioral screening tools.

Step 3. Train Staff

Staff regularly participate in ongoing professional learning related to screening.The professional learning should focus on ensuring that all staff understand the purpose of screening and have the knowledge and skills to implement the screening process with fidelity.

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Assessment Practices Within a Multi-Tiered System of Supports

Step 4. Collect Data and Monitor Fidelity

To limit inconsistencies in administration and errors in scoring and data-entry, teams develop a clear plan for ensuring fidelity of the screening process. These resources highlight considerations for implementing screening with fidelity.

Step 5. Analyze Screening Data

Screening data support decision making at all levels of an education system. District teams may use screening data to make decisions about program improvement and curriculum, innovation and sustainability, allocation of resources, and equitable services and supports across schools. School teams may use screening data to review school and grade level trends, monitor effectiveness of schoolwide curriculum and supports, identify areas of need, and provide guidance on how to set measurable schoolwide goals. Teachers may use screening data to identify students in need of additional support and improve tiered instruction and supports.

Learn more about Data-based Decision Making.