Connecticut’s Specific Learning Disabilities (SLD)/Dyslexia Assessment Resource Guide was created in response to requests from educators and administrators from local education agencies (LEAs) seeking information about appropriate assessment options for the identification of SLD/Dyslexia and other reading-related learning disabilities. The Guide was prepared by the State Education Resource Center (SERC) in collaboration with the Connecticut State Department of Education (CSDE) and Connecticut experts in reading disabilities. The content in the Guide evolved from Dr. Louise Spear-Swerling’s publication, The Power of RTI and Reading Profiles: A Blueprint for Solving Reading Problems (2015), which identifies research-based reading-related abilities and assessments appropriate for evaluating reading component skills. Analysis of reading component skills is critical when a student is struggling to learn to read and/or when SLD or SLD/Dyslexia is suspected. Dr. Spear-Swerling’s original content (p. 92) is reprinted on SERC’s website with permission of the author and the publisher.
Connecticut’s SLD/Dyslexia Assessment Resource Guide enhances Dr. Spear-Swerling’s work in several ways. It includes assessment options for written expression, an integral component of literacy; updates tests and subtests to reflect the most recently revised versions; and expands the assessment options for each reading-related component skill. The Guide also includes the Connecticut Department of Education’s Approved Menu of Research-based Grades K-3 Universal Screening Reading Assessments, merging them as assessment examples within their respective reading-related components.
A July 15, 2016, memo from Commissioner Dianna Wentzell to superintendents of schools announced that effective September 2016, the assessments and tools within the CSDE’s Approved Menu of Researched-based Grades K-3 Universal Screening Reading Assessments may also be used as the screening reading assessments to screen in whole or in part for students at risk of SLD/Dyslexia as defined in Section 10-14t of the Connecticut General Statutes. CSDE approved these universal screening reading assessments for use by local and regional boards of education for the school year commencing July, 1 2016, and each school year thereafter, to identify students in kindergarten to grade three who are below proficiency in reading, including students at risk of having SLD/Dyslexia and other reading-related learning disabilities. The universal screening reading assessments listed in Section 1 of the CSDE menu (Curriculum Based Measures – General Outcome Measures) are the most appropriate assessments for use as screening tools in grades K-3 for students at risk of SLD/Dyslexia because they assess the specific skill areas involved in learning to read. The assessments listed in Section 2 (Computer Adaptive Assessments) may be used as screening measures for SLD/Dyslexia but they might not be as thorough since they concurrently measure a number of component reading skills and as such do not necessarily address all of the critical reading skill areas for every student.
Connecticut’s SLD/Dyslexia Assessment Resource Guide supports the integration of general education and special education systems for the benefit of all students who are below proficiency in reading. LEAs are encouraged to use the Guide as a resource to explore their district’s capacity to screen for students at risk for SLD/Dyslexia as well as other reading-related learning disabilities, monitor the progress of students receiving reading intervention, and conduct a comprehensive evaluation when SLD/Dyslexia is suspected.