FastBridge was initially developed for educators to screen students and monitor progress, but it also has some very useful features to diagnose their curricular and instructional needs. FastBridge assessments can be used in conjunction with other data as part of an evaluation of a student’s academic and behavior learning needs. FastBridge assessments and reports can provide insight as to the needs of students within specific grades or classes; such insights are often used to evaluate and refine core instruction and curriculum (e.g., Tier 1). They can also provide insights as to the needs of small groups (e.g., Tier 2) and individual students (e.g, Tier 3).
It is common to screen all students in the fall, winter, and spring of each year. This provides information about the academic and behavioral health of the population. In FastBridge, once data are collected, student performance is automatically cross referenced with benchmarks as well as local and national norms. The benchmarks indicate if the student’s score suggests risk for later learning difficulties. Norms provide a relative rank of each student's performance within a defined group. A student’s ranking in one group (e.g., class, school) can look very different from his or her rank in another group (e.g., national norms). FastBridge provides norms based on the class, school, district and nation once 70% or more of students in a group have completed the assessment.
Educational programs improve when educators have data about the achievement and skills of their students. The data that are collected for screening can be leveraged within FastBridge to provide important information regarding the strengths and weaknesses of student groups and individuals. The relative health of a student population can be defined by the proportion of students who perform above benchmark within reading, math, and behavior. FastBridge screening reports provide information about the strength and effects of Tier 1 core curricula. When used in conjunction with other information, FastBridge assessment data also can be part of a diagnostic evaluation.
Two types of FastBridge reports provide unique diagnostic information to guide academic curricular and instructional decisions. Those are the Screening to Intervention (s2i) and the Individual Skills Reports.
Screening to Intervention. The s2i Report automatically integrates data from across multiple assessments to yield math or reading instructional profiles for each student. Those profiles indicate student needs and even align with local intervention programs. For example, the combined use of the FastBridge adaptive tests (e.g., aReading and aMath) and Curriculum-Based Measures (e.g., CBMreading, CBMmath) provides information about each student’s specific and general skills. Both whole-class and small-group instructional recommendations are provided so that teachers can refine instructional programs.
Individual Skills. This report provides additional details about each student’s performance on the academic screening assessments. The specific information included in each Individual Skills report varies in relation to the content in each assessment. Those assessments that measure specific individual skills such as earlyMath, earlyReading, CBMmath, and CBMreading include the exact details about which items the student answered correctly or incorrectly. The FastBridge assessments that measure broad academic skills (e.g., aMath and aReading) yield score-based estimates of each student’s proficiency in all of the subskills included in the broad assessment.
In order for the data in the s2i and Individual Skills reports to be used as part of a process to understand the specific reason for student learning problems, it must be compared with other sources of information. Such information can include group and individual student performance on other standardized tests (e.g., state assessments) or classroom assessments. As noted by Salvia, Ysseldyke, and Witmer (2017), diagnostic decisions are some of the most “high stakes” conclusions reached by educators. Specifically, diagnostic decisions can result in student access to alternative educational services. For this reason, careful consideration of multiple data points is necessary before reaching diagnostic conclusions about student performance.
Effective Curricular and Diagnostic Decisions
FastBridge is pleased to offer assessment tools that support data-based decisions and enhance student learning outcomes. FastBridge screening assessments provide educators with an overview of all students’ performance. When specific FastBridge assessments are combined to include information about both basic academic skills and broad performance, the s2i report suggests specific instructional practices to improve learning outcomes for one or more students in a class. Detailed information about individual student learning needs is found in the Individual Skills reports. These reports include either a summary of the student’s responses to each item or estimates of each student’s mastered, current, or future academic skills.
Salvia, J., Ysseldyke, J. E., & Witmer, S. (2017). Assessment in special and inclusive education (13th ed.). Belmont, CA.: Wadsworth Publishing.