Screening Briefs

The purpose of this series of briefs is to help school practitioners develop a deeper understanding of screening. These briefs cover various topics related to screening practices within an RTI framework so that practitioners will better understand the contextual issues that surround them, and enhance their ability to accurately identify at-risk students using these practices. The broad goal of choosing and implementing good screening practices is to ensure that school staff have data to allow them to make decisions about instruction based on valid, reliable information. Because screening involves all students, the process must be efficient as well as accurate.

Brief #1: Classification Accuracy (PDF): Brief 1 provides a short explanation of classification accuracy, and provides an illustration of the interaction between true positives, false positives, false negatives, and true negatives. There is also a brief discussion of sensitivity and specificity. This brief also notes potential methods for improving classification accuracy.

Brief #2: Cut Scores (PDF): Brief 2 describes cut scores and discusses their role in the identification of at-risk students and allocation of resources.

Brief #3: Predicting Students at Risk for Reading and Mathematics Difficulties (PDF): Drawing from the research literature, Brief 3 provides suggestions of age-appropriate screening measures to use in the areas of reading and math. It provides succinct recommendations for practitioners and briefly describes how a two-stage screening process may improve accurate identification of at-risk students.

Brief #4: Ensuring Fidelity of Assessment and Data Entry Procedures (PDF): Brief 4 addresses the importance of fidelity when delivering and scoring screening assessments, and when entering these data into a database.

To learn more about these topics, also see the RTI Implementer Series Training Modules and Self-Paced Learning Modules.