As schools continue to adjust to a new "normal" that includes remote instruction and assessment, there are important considerations related to interpreting students' FastBridge scores. Frequent questions include:
- How will we know whether students participated in remote instruction?
- How will student scores differ on FastBridge assessments?
- Is remote assessment valid?
- What else should we consider?
- Can we still use the FastBridge benchmarks and norms to interpret student data?
- Where can I get more information on COVID learning loss?
How will we know whether students participated in remote instruction?
It is important to know whether students attended remote learning sessions when interpreting their scores and growth. Methods schools can use to check on attendance include:
- Teacher reports
- Software data indicating when and for how long students logged into assigned sessions
How will COVID-era student scores differ on FastBridge assessments?
Summer slide research and analysis of FastBridge assessments suggests that you can expect COVID-era scores to be lower than prior years. As compared with student performance pre-COVID from the fall of 2019, the following performance changes were observed on certain FastBridge assessments.
- General Reading Skills (aReading): a one to two month decline in performance
- Oral Reading Fluency (CBMreading): two to four month decline in performance
- General Math Skills (aMath): two to four month decline in performance
These results will vary by grade level and the types and frequency of remote learning implemented in your school and district due to COVID-19.
Is remote assessment valid?
If your school or district conducts FastBridge screening or progress monitoring using remote methods, there are important considerations for data interpretation.
- Remote assessment scores might have been influenced by unknown factors that make the data less reliable and valid than when the assessments are completed at school, because of:
- Internet connectivity
- Environmental distractions
What else should we consider?
When reviewing remote student data, FastBridge encourages educators to take the following into account.
- The grade level of the student
- The scores of students in early elementary grades are likely to be more impacted than scores of students in middle school and high school.
- The extent of modifications from standard in-school assessment conditions
- Generally, more extensive modifications are necessary to deliver the individually administered FastBridge assessments such as earlyReading, earlyMath, and CBMreading remotely.
- Student and teacher familiarity with video-conference testing
- Teachers should practice before so they can get used to using multiple windows to see a student while also viewing the FastBridge application to enter scores.
Can we still use the FastBridge benchmarks and norms to interpret student data?
Yes. Using the FastBridge benchmarks and norms to interpret student scores is still recommended, with these additional suggestions:
- For screening data, look at the local norms first and compare each student's scores to the class, school, and/or district norms as a starting point.
- Since instructional conditions have varied significantly during COVID-19 disruptions, it is best to interpret student performance in relation to other students who participated in the same instruction.
- For students with low scores:
- Compare the scores with student performance on other assessments and activities during remote instruction.
- If a student’s remote scores are significantly different from other indicators, they are probably not reliable and should not be used for instructional planning.
- FastBridge benchmarks are still important indicators of student risk because they provide important information about expected future performance.
- Despite the COVID-19 disruptions, students still need to master basic reading and math skills.
- Lowering expectations for struggling students will only make it harder for these students to catch up and reach important learning targets in future years.
- Due to COVID-19, It is likely that more students will have scores at-risk when they return to school than in prior years. The best way to address higher numbers of students with at-risk scores is to adjust Tier 1 core instruction.
- Use direct and systematic instructional practices validated by research.
- Use the FastBridge Screening to Intervention Reports for Reading and Math to identify whole-class instruction needs.
Where can I get more information on COVID learning loss?
View this article: Estimating Learning Loss from School Closures due to COVID