• Screening, Evaluation and Identification 

    • The Dyslexia Handbook-click for more information on screening, evaluation, and identification

      Universal Screenings

      All students in kindergarten and first grade are screened for possible risks of dyslexia or a related disorder.  First graders are screened by the end of January and kindergarten by the end of the school year. Students determined to be at risk for dyslexia or a related disorder will be offered intervention or a dyslexia evaluation. For more information, see Figure 2.5 on page 17 of the Dyslexia Handbook.

      Procedures for Evaluation and Identification

      The process of identifying dyslexia will follow Child Find procedures for conducting a full individual and initial evaluation (FIIE) under the IDEA. 

      A dyslexia evaluation may be requested at any time. Students referred for a dyslexia evaluation should have poor performance in one or more areas of reading and spelling that are unexpected for the student’s age or grade level and demonstrate characteristics of dyslexia. 

      Cumulative data (informal) from the student’s educational history will be considered prior to a formal evaluation. The academic history of each student will provide the school with the cumulative data needed to ensure that underachievement in a student suspected of having dyslexia is not due to lack of appropriate instruction in reading.  See figure 3.2 on page 25 of Dyslexia Handbook for examples.

      Once the informal data is gathered and reviewed, a formal evaluation can be recommended. During a formal evaluation, the domains listed below are to be considered.

      Domains assessed in a dyslexia evaluation are as follows:              

      • Letter knowledge
      • Reading words in isolation
      • Decoding unfamiliar words
      • Reading fluency and comprehension
      • Spelling
      • Phonological/phonemic awareness
      • Rapid naming of symbols or objects

      Additional domains that may be included in the evaluation are as follows:

      • Vocabulary
      • Listening comprehension
      • Verbal and/or written expression
      • Handwriting
      • Orthographic processing
      • Mathematical calculation/reasoning
      • Phonological memory
      • Verbal working memory and processing speed

      Once an evaluation is complete, a committee of knowledgeable persons (ARD committee) will interpret the results to determine if there is a pattern of evidence for the primary characteristics of dyslexia with unexpectedly low performance for the student’s age and educational level. The reading and spelling difficulties should be unexpected in relation to the student’s other abilities, sociocultural factors, language difference, irregular attendance, or lack of appropriate and effective instruction. It is not one single factor but a preponderance of data (both formal and informal) that provides the committee with evidence for whether these difficulties are unexpected. 

      Once dyslexia is identified, the ARD Committee will create an educational plan to serve the student. The committee will determine the appropriate intervention for the student and what accommodations the student will need in the classroom and for testing.

      For more information on the identification process, see Figure 3.8 on page 34 of The Dyslexia Handbook.

      Parents/guardians may request an evaluation at any time and the committee is obligated to review the student’s data history to determine whether or not there is a reason to believe the student has a disability. If a disability is suspected, the student will be evaluated. If the committee does not suspect a disability and determines an evaluation is not warranted, it must give prior written notice of refusal to evaluate, including an explanation of why the school refuses to conduct the FIIE, the information that was used as the basis for the decision, and a copy of the Notice of Procedural Safeguards. 

      Privately obtained evaluations provided by the parents/guardians will be reviewed by the school district and become a part of the evaluation data but do not, independently, create eligibility.