91 percent of school districts implementing literacy system
A majority of Iowa’s school districts are building on their literacy instruction by implementing an early warning system to help schools identify and intervene with students who are struggling to read.
Ninety-one percent of districts and some nonpublic schools this fall will put in place the early warning system, which provides assessments for kindergarten through sixth grade (FAST). The assessments are integrated into an online data system (Iowa TIER) that was specifically designed and built for use across Iowa. The system allows teachers to screen students, adjust their instruction, and monitor their progress.
The early warning system aims to find reading deficiencies long before they become a problem. It’s also designed to identify gaps within a classroom, grade level, entire school, or even at a district level.
The effort is scaling up in Iowa schools through a partnership between school districts, Area Education Agencies and the Iowa Department of Education known as Collaborating for Iowa’s Kids. The Iowa Reading Research Center, which was created by the Legislature in 2012, is a critical partner in this effort.
About 15 percent of districts implemented the early warning system last year. Supporters say the assessments are user-friendly and produce faster and more exact findings. Literacy skills are foundational for success in school. Right now, nearly one in four Iowa third graders is not proficient in reading, according to state test results.