Sensibly distribute resources: Prior-year statewide achievement test data is sufficient

Sensibly distribute resources: Prior-year statewide achievement test data is sufficient

By Zhihui Kaya Feng, Johns Hopkins University

Universal screening in reading is important, but inaccurate and costly approaches are not worth investing in. Paly and colleagues recently conducted a retrospective research project to analyze four approaches to reading risk screening in terms of their accuracy and costs, including the prior-year state test (STAAR Reading), the aimswebPlus, and two approaches using both tests in different ways.

Using data from Grades 4-8 students (n = 19,417) in a mid-size urban district in Texas, the researchers examined classification accuracy and the cost-effectiveness relation of the four approaches.  The results suggest that aimswebPlus is the most costly and the least accurate, while the state achievement test data is sufficient for accurately screening reading risk. This study provides guidance for educational decisionmakers, such as school administrators, that screening measures should be carefully analyzed before being adopted to make sure that funds and time are used effectively and efficiently.

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