k-2 writing (1)Oakland Schools supports local districts in implementing multi-tiered systems of support (MTSS).  The goal of an MTSS framework is to ensure high levels of engagement and achievement for all students through the use of a coordinated, collaborative, data-driven school-wide system.  Assessments for three specific purposes underlie a successful, sustainable MTSS framework for literacy because they allow for successful instructional problem-solving cycles.  These three purposes are described below.

To view tools and assessment system considerations for compliance with PA 306, click HERE.

To view Oakland Schools’ Guidance on popular universal screener assessments being considered by districts within an MTSS framework, click HERE. (Draft 5-12-17)


Universal Screening

Universal screening is the systematic assessment of all students to answer the question, “Which students are on-track for meeting end of year benchmarks at this point in the school year?” Universal screening identifies students who are at-risk and require additional support. Universal screeners address a specific skill or ability that is predictive of a later outcome. Screeners are often low-cost, quick and easy to administer, repeatable, and administered to all students at least three times per academic calendar year. Information provided from screening assessments includes evidence of content and subjects taught to all students (core curriculum), environment, and instruction effectiveness. In addition, screeners provide identification of students who may need additional, diagnostic, assessment and/or intervention.

Characteristics of universal screening assessments include:

  • Accessible and administered to all students
  • Assessment of critical skills and concepts
  • Brief administration time (<10 min/student) and easily scored
  • Quick turnaround time of aggregated and disaggregated data provided to classroom teachers
  • Repeatable
  • Reliable and Valid

View MDE’s Universal Screener Rubric for evaluating tools here:http://www.michigan.gov/documents/mde/Final_Screener_Rubric__551652_7.pdf


Diagnostic Assessment

Diagnostic assessments help educators determine the cause for a student’s performance by answering the question, “What instruction do students need tomorrow to move toward the next benchmark/ learning priority?” These tools assess at a deeper level to provide data that can be used to plan, modify, and differentiate instruction and interventions. These assessments are often used at the beginning of an academic year, semester/trimester, or instructional unit and assist with understanding student background and readiness. They often will assist with setting a pathway for the learner to reach the learning goals and objectives. Diagnostic measures should be used when there is a high probability that they will provide new information to help plan more effective instruction for a student. Diagnostic assessments should focus on areas of skills that can be directly taught and that will have an impact on growth if they are taught more effectively.

Characteristics of diagnostic assessments include:

  • Administered to selected students
  • Related to the skills/knowledge in the learning objectives
  • Identifies strengths and gaps in student skills, ability, and knowledge
  • Appropriate in design and delivery mode
  • Reliable and Valid (The assessment must have undergone psychometric analyses by a psychometrician.)

View MDE’s Diagnostic Assessment Rubric for evaluating tools here:http://www.michigan.gov/documents/mde/Final_Diagnostic_Assessment_Rubric__551651_7.pdf


Progress Monitoring Assessment

Progress monitoring assessments are used when students are participating in small group instruction or supplemental intervention to determine whether the instruction is producing the desired results in the prescribed time frame.  The information gained from this assessment helps teachers answer the question, “Is the student making enough progress as a result of instruction or intervention to achieve his or her goal?”   Information gained from this type of assessment lets teachers know if students are on track / off track to meet their individual learning goals.  Progress monitoring assessments may be internal (specific to and embedded within a particular intervention or instructional approach) or external (independent of the particular intervention or instructional approach)

  • Alternate forms at the same level of difficulty exist
  • Text level of difficulty is matched to the student’s instructional level
  • Sensitive to small changes or growth over a relatively short amount of time
  • Growth is compared with a criterion or performance benchmark, not chronological age
  • Quick- less than five minutes per student

Examples of Progress Monitoring assessment tools include AIMSWeb, DIBELS, curriculum-based measures (i.e.: oral reading fluency), mastery unit assessments within a program, and running records.


Please visit MDE’s Early Literacy Initiative Overview webpage to learn more about the purposes of assessments. View information related to MDE’s Early Literacy Assessment Reimbursement Grant here: http://www.michigan.gov/mde/0,4615,7-140-28753_74161-367697–,00.html .