New diagnostic tool measures reading skills, targets success

By Laura Devaney
August 25th, 2015

Lexia Learning’s RAPID Assessment offers predictions for reading success; provides guidance for instruction

reading-tool“Data-driven instruction” has become a watchword in education, but interpreting and using data for instructional planning remains a formidable hurdle for teachers, many of whom lack the necessary tools, time, or training.

To help educators successfully address this problem, Lexia Learning, a Rosetta Stone® company, has launched RAPID (Reading Assessment for Prescriptive Instructional Data) Assessment, a computer-adaptive screener and diagnostic tool for students in grades 3–12.

Designed for administration in the fall, winter, and spring, RAPID uses a computer-adaptive process to identify and monitor reading and language skills so that teachers can quickly acquire actionable data for instruction and measure the long-term growth of each student’s skills.

In addition to measuring the skills that are highly predictive of reading success–word recognition, vocabulary knowledge, syntactic knowledge, and reading comprehension–RAPID helps educators make decisions within a Response to Intervention or Multi-Tier System of Support model by helping to determine which students are at-risk for difficulty and then providing guidance on the level of instructional intensity needed for student success.

RAPID also provides a diagnostic profile for each student, pinpointing specific academic areas that should be targeted. Additionally, the diagnostic profile links directly to Lexia-provided instructional strategies for the teacher and identifies students with similar profiles for small-group instruction.

This new assessment is the result of Lexia’s ongoing partnership with researchers from the Florida Center for Reading Research (FCRR), a multidisciplinary research center at Florida State University. FCRR’s continuing research and innovation in the area of language and literacy assessment was instrumental in determining the most predictive skills, testing methodologies, and strategies to convey meaningful data in a manner that best informs instruction.

“This partnership has led to the creation of an assessment that breaks new ground in terms of efficiency and effectiveness,” said Lexia President Nick Gaehde. “RAPID’s computer-adaptive approach draws-upon both an extensive research base and large resource bank to create a fast, reliable assessment of growth as well as domain-specific skill development.”

“With RAPID, teachers can now obtain an in-depth measurement of reading ability within the timeframe of a typical class period,” said FCRR Director Barbara Foorman, Ph.D. “This allows for more time to be spent teaching rather than administering lengthy assessments, many of which require additional time to decipher the data and determine how best to address individual student needs.”

Rather than administer several lengthy assessments, teachers and administrators using RAPID obtain the information they need regarding student progress via a Reading Success Probability (RSP) score, a set of Ability Scores, and a set of Percentile Scores based on the student’s grade level. All three scores are provided at the student level and then aggregated to the class, grade, school, and district levels.

Each student receives an individual RSP score indicating the overall level of instructional intensity needed to reach grade level proficiency by the end of the school year. The RSP score then becomes a roadmap for educators with a prediction of students’ future reading success on a standardized outcome measure.

The Ability Score represents an estimate of each student’s abilities and development in a particular skill area within and across grade levels (for example, their current level of vocabulary knowledge). This score, when compared to a student’s prior Ability Scores, indicates relative growth in the skill. The Percentile Score shows a student’s relative performance compared to grade-level norms and guides instructional strategies based on the student’s personal profile of strengths and weaknesses.

These three types of information provide educators with an enormous amount of insight when determining what steps need to be taken to drive student gains. Teachers and administrators can see how many students have a high probability of success (an RSP of 70 percent or greater) and the distribution of RSP scores across a grade, school, or district.

Educators can also longitudinally track students’ personal skill development growth over a school year and across multiple years. Additionally, the data enables educators to track the impact of instructional interventions and programs across a school or district and administrators can use the school- and district-wide profiles to assess the need for curriculum review.

“The Gates Foundation recently published a report that showed teachers not only need data, but they need classroom instructional strategies as well,” said Gaehde. “With the availability of RAPID, Lexia can help educators quickly and effectively clarify the instructional needs of students and help them meet those needs efficiently.”

Material from a press release was used in this report.

About the Author:

Laura Devaney

Laura Devaney is the Director of News for eSchool Media. She is a graduate of the University of Maryland's Philip Merrill College of Journalism. When she isn't wrangling her two children, Laura enjoys running, photography, home improvement, and rooting for the Terps. Find Laura on Twitter: @eSN_Laura