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How were the threshold levels for the approved assessments determined?

The threshold, or performance, levels used to determine if a student is experiencing a difficulty with reading, were established by the vendors of individual assessments. For a full listing of approved assessments with corresponding threshold levels, and to find contact information for questions related to threshold levels, please visit

Can more than one assessment be used to identify a reading deficiency?

Schools must select a single universal screener from the approved list. While this screener should be the primary tool used to identify a deficiency, diagnostic tools and other types of formative assessment may continue to be used. It is recommended that specific information gleaned from any assessments, including the universal screener, be included in the Individualized Reading Plan (IRP) so that multiple data sources inform the process of developing a supplemental reading intervention plan.

What is the timeline for administering the three required assessments during the school year?

The first assessment must be administered within the first 30 school days of the year. While decisions about subsequent administrations are made locally, screeners should be scheduled so that other requirements such as parental notification and creation of an Individualized Reading Improvement Plan (IRIP) are met in a timely manner, well before the conclusion of the school year, and at intervals that allow for sufficient time for interventions to occur.

Are districts / schools required to administer the same universal screener across all grade levels?

Some schools may choose to use different screeners, for example, they may assess early literacy skills with one assessment in kindergarten and 1st grade, and another in 2nd and 3rd. While it may be more difficult to track progress over time, some research supports the practice. The screener should be the primary tool to identify a student as having a reading deficiency. Diagnostic and other types of formative assessment do not require department approval.

What is an approved reading assessment?

An assessment of student reading is administered three times during the school year to all students in grades kindergarten through grade three to 1) screen students within the first 30 days of school to identify students who may have a reading deficiency, 2) measure progress toward grade level reading in skills including but not limited to: alphabetical and phonological awareness, sound-symbol correspondence, decoding and fluency and comprehension and 3) inform instruction targeted to student needs. Such assessments will be approved by qualified NDE personnel or its designees, be reliable and valid, and align with appropriate academic content standards for reading adopted by the State Board of Education pursuant to section 79-760.01. Assessments should allow teachers to access results in a reasonable period, be commercially available, and comply with requirements established by NDE.