Reading - Universal Screening and Substantial Deficiency

The ability to read is necessary for students to be successful, and early intervention for struggling readers is critical. Problems identified early are easier to remediate. Iowa's education system, including the Mason City Community School District, has responded to the early literacy progression law with a focus on prevention and early intervention. Universal screening assessments for reading are administered to PK-6 students three times during the school year - fall, winter and spring. The purpose of this screening is to identify and intervene with students who are struggling to read so they can receive the help they need to get back on track. Schools use the screening results to determine whether each student is "adequately progressing," "at risk," or has a "substantial deficiency" in reading.

 

For students identified as having a substantial deficiency in reading, parents must be notified and interventions must be provided. Students are identified as having a substantial deficiency when:

  • They perform below the benchmark in two consecutive screening periods, or
  • They perform below the benchmark after having been identified as "at risk" in the previous screening period.

A substantial deficiency in reading does not mean a student will be retained. The focus of the early literacy progression law is intervention for students who need help. Those interventions are new and need time to work. The retention component of the early literacy progression law will not take effect until May 2017. At that time, students who are substantially deficient at the end of the third grade can advance to fourth grade if they complete an intensive summer reading program or qualify for an exemption.

Click on the link provided here for more information about the early literacy progression law and questions frequently asked by parents.

For Parents:  Early Literacy Frequently Asked Questions