Referral & Screening Process

Referral Process:
At any time that a student continues to struggle with one or more components of reading, Texarkana ISD will collect additional information about the student.

Data Gathering:
Information will be used to evaluate the studentís academic progress and determine what actions are needed to ensure the studentís improved academic performance. This information should include data that demonstrates the student was provided appropriate instruction and data-based documentation of repeated assessments of achievement at reasonable intervals (progress monitoring), reflecting formal assessment of student progress during instruction.

Additional information to be considered includes the results from some or all of the following:

  • Vision screening
  • Hearing screening
  • Teacher reports of classroom concerns
  • Basal reading series assessment
  • Accommodations provided by classroom teachers
  • Academic progress reports (report cards)
  • Gifted/Talented assessments
  • Samples of school work
  • Parent conferences
  • Testing for limited English proficiency (all years available)
  • Speech and language screening through a referral process
      (English and native language, if possible)
  • The K-2 reading instrument as required in TEC ß28.006
      (English and native language, if possible)
  • Universal screening for all grade levels available (English and native language, if possible)
  • State student assessment program as described in TEC ß39.002

Data that support the student received conventional (appropriate) instruction and that the difficulties are not primarily the result of sociocultural factors which include language differences, irregular attendance, or lack of experiential background.

Among the actions that Texarkana ISD has available for the student is a recommendation that the student be assessed for dyslexia. Texarkana ISD recommends assessment for dyslexia if the student demonstrates the following: Poor performance in one or more areas of reading and/or the related area of spelling that is unexpected for the studentís age/grade, and Characteristics of dyslexia

Primary Reading/Spelling Characteristics of Dyslexia:

  • Difficulty reading real words in isolation
  • Difficulty accurately decoding nonsense words
  • Slow, inaccurate, or labored oral reading (lack of reading fluency)
  • Difficulty with learning to spell

The reading/spelling characteristics are the result of difficulty with the following:

  • The development of phonological awareness, including segmenting, blending, and manipulating sounds in words
  • Learning the names of letters and their associated sounds
  • Phonological memory (holding information about sounds and words in memory)
  • Rapid naming of familiar objects, colors, or letters of the alphabet

Secondary consequences of dyslexia may include the following:

  • Variable difficulty with aspects of reading comprehension
  • Variable difficulty with aspects of written composition
  • A limited amount of time spent in reading activities

If a student continues to struggle with reading, has participated in an accelerated reading program, has been monitored for reading progress on a regular basis, has good attendance and exhibits the characteristics of dyslexia, the RtI committee determines the need to initiate a referral to the Section 504 Committee for dyslexia assessment.

Procedures for Assessment of Dyslexia:
Students enrolling in Texarkana ISD shall be assessed for dyslexia and related disorders at appropriate times (TEC ß38.003(a)). The appropriate time depends upon multiple factors including the studentís reading performance, reading difficulties, poor response to supplemental, scientifically based reading instruction, teachersí input, and parentsí or guardiansí input. Additionally, the appropriate time for assessing is early in a studentís school career (19 TAC ß74.28), the earlier the better. While earlier is better, students will be recommended for assessment for dyslexia even if the reading difficulties appear later in a studentís school career.

The procedures followed for assessment include:

  1. Notify parents or guardians of proposal to assess student for dyslexia (ß504)
  2. Inform parents or guardians of their rights under ß504
  3. Obtain parent or guardian permission to assess the student for dyslexia
  4. Assess student, being sure that individuals/professionals who administer assessments have training in the evaluation of students for dyslexia and related disorders (19 TAC ß74.28)

Tests, assessments, and other evaluation materials will (ß504):

  • Be validated for the specific purpose for which the tests, assessments, and other evaluation materials are used
  • Include material tailored to assess specific areas of educational need and not merely materials that are designed to provide a single general intelligence quotient
  • Be selected and administered so as to ensure that, when a test is given to a student with impaired sensory, manual, or speaking skills, the test results accurately reflect the studentís aptitude or achievement level, or whatever other factor the test purports to measure, rather than reflecting the studentís impaired sensory, manual, or speaking skills
  • Be selected and administered in a manner that is not racially or culturally discriminatory
  • Include multiple measures of a studentís reading abilities such as informal assessment information (e.g., anecdotal records, district universal screenings, progress monitoring data, criterion referenced assessments, results of informal reading inventories, classroom observations)
  • Be administered by trained personnel and in conformance with the instructions provided by the producer of the evaluation materials

Domains to Assess
Texarkana ISD administers measures that are related to the studentís educational needs. Depending upon the studentís age and stage of reading development, the following are the areas related to reading that should be assessed:

Academic Skills

  • Letter knowledge (name and associated sound)
  • Reading real and nonsense words in isolation (decoding)
  • Reading fluency (both rate and accuracy should be measured)
  • Reading comprehension
  • Written spelling

Cognitive processes that underlie the reading difficulties

  • Phonological/phonemic awareness (Difficulties in phonological and phonemic awareness are typically seen in students with dyslexia and impact a studentís ability to learn letters and the sounds associated with letters and letter combinations, learn the alphabetic principle, use the sounds of the letters and letter combinations to decode words and to accurately spell.)
  • Rapid naming (Difficulties in rapid naming may or may not be weak, but if deficient, will impact a studentís ability to automatically name letters and read words and to read connected text at an appropriate rate.)

Based on the studentís academic difficulties and characteristics, additional areas that may be assessed include the following:

  • Vocabulary
  • Listening comprehension
  • Oral expression
  • Written expression
  • Handwriting
  • Orthographic processing
  • Mathematical reasoning
  • Intelligence

English Language Learners:
This refers to students served in Bilingual and ESL programs as well as students designated Limited English Proficient (LEP) whose parents have denied services.

Much diversity exists among English Language Learners (ELLs). The identification and service delivery process for dyslexia must be in step with the studentís linguistic environment and educational background. Involvement of the Language Proficiency Assessment Committee (LPAC) in the decision making process is recommended.

Additional data to be gathered when assessing English Language Learners:
Language Proficiency Assessment Committee (LPAC) documentation which includes the following:

  • Home language survey
  • Assessment related to identification for limited English proficiency
    (oral language proficiency tests and norm-referenced tests)
  • State student assessment data results when available
  • Texas English Language Proficiency system (TELPAS) information
  • Type of language programming provided and language of instruction
  • Linguistic environment and second-language acquisition development
  • Previous schooling in and outside of the United States

Additional assessment when assessing English Language Learners:

  • Comprehensive oral language proficiency testing should be completed in English and the studentís native language whenever possible.
  • If the student has received academic instruction in his/her native language, as well as English, then the ďDomains to AssessĒ need to be completed in both languages to the appropriate extent.

Test results of English Language Learners (ELL) will be interpreted in light of the studentís: language development (in both English and the studentís native language [when possible] ), educational history, linguistic 9 background, socioeconomic issues, and any other pertinent factors that affect learning.