A hot topic in the primary education community at the moment is screening and assessments; why they should be carried out, how regularly, and how much is too much. In this blog post we discuss the reasons why screening your students is important and provide tools and calendars to help make it easier for you to carry out the relevant screens at the right time of year.
Why should I screen my students regularly?
All students are different and each class is different. One of the biggest challenges teachers face is to establish and then successfully cater to the range in ability in their classroom. PLD has developed a selection of screening tools that enables educators to specifically identify and then target the needs within a class. The screening also enables teachers to set specific literacy goals for the students within the class and importantly provide evidence at the end of each term that skill development has occurred.
What evidence is there that shows screening students is beneficial?
Consistent and regular screening has been linked to higher performing schools. In 2015 Professor William Louden from The University of WA was commissioned by the Education Department of WA to investigate what were the characteristics that enabled schools to become high performing. The research, published on the Department of Education website, looked at 9 high performing schools, taking to account their NAPLAN scores as well as their students’ absolute and relative achievements.
Professor Louden found that the key commonalities between all 9 of the schools were; consistent implementation of programs, regular assessment cycles that directly related to the school-specific mandated programs, and identified student achievement targets. Read more on this study here.
What screening tools are available?
When considering screening and assessment tools to use in your classroom, you should look for tools that are:
- Simple for you and time efficient to administer
- Relevant to the specific time of year that you want to test
- Able to aid you in consistently identifying and tracking the range of ability in your classroom
PLD has developed a collection of non-standardised screening tools for each age range that are available for download now. If you are looking for easy to implement and cost effective screening tool to use in your classroom, these tools should be on your list.
Each screen is simple and time efficient to administer and aims to highlight the instructional needs of the students. These tools can be used three ways:
- After a period of explicit instruction, hence highlighting if students have sufficiently mastered the concepts and are ready to progress on.
- To the whole class, hence identifying range of needs within the class.
- When individual students are experiencing difficulty or are slow to progress.
Download screening and assessment tools for your year
If you are interested in using PLD screening tools, access the downloads specific for your class:
- Early Years – Kindergarten (WA, QLD, SA, TAS) and Pre-school (ACT, NT, NSW, VIC)
- Foundation Year – Pre-primary (WA), Kindergarten (NSW, ACT), Prep (QLD, VIC, TAS), Reception (SA), Transition (NT)
- Year 1 & 2
- Years 3, 4, 5 & 6
When to schedule your screens throughout the year
PLD now has a way for you to keep track of the assessments that need to be carried out throughout the year. The Whole School PLD Literacy Strategy Assessment Schedule 2019 provides a calendar of assessments for every year group, download and distribute it today.
How to track your students testing results
Time efficient tracking student development is central to the PLD process. The PLD tracking delivered each term, should assist teachers to determine the range in ability evident within the classroom. PLD advocates tracking from the Early Years until Year 6. To assist this process, PLD supplies excel (and Google) sheets which can be requested here. To find out more about theses sheets and how to use them effectively click here and here.
Want to know more about PLD’s screening?
Take a look at some of the Frequently Asked Questions on our Support page. If you have further questions, email [email protected] and we will get back to you as soon as possible.
- PLD Screening tools? Which tests do I use?
- How well should students be reading at the end of the Foundation school year?
- How well should students be spelling at the end of the Foundation school year?
- Why is it beneficial to integrate annual end of year standardised testing with the PLD process?
- Who should I go to for advice on standardised reading and spelling assessments?