Screening is an assessment procedure characterized by brief, efficient, repeatable testing of age-appropriate academic skills or behaviors. Universal screening is a critical and essential component of an RtI process that is designed to identify students who may be at-risk at the first sign of struggle. Resources and information listed in this section are specific to universal screening in an RtI framework.


School-Wide Screening

National Resource Center of Learning Disabilities (2006)

Section 1 of a five part RtI manual authored by the National Resource of Learning Disabilities defines screening and explains its critical features. Section 1 includes tools and tasklists designed to support an RtI, school-wide screening process. It also provides a list of resources schools will need to implement an RtI school-wide screening process with fidelity.

Screening for Mathematical Difficulties in K-3 Students

Gersten, R., Clarke, B.S., & Jordan, N.C. (2007)

Published by the Center on Instruction, this document examines the efficacy of existing screening measures used at the primary level. It describes at length, the essential features needed to screen students in grades K-3 for mathematical difficulties.

A concise article that briefly describes four different screening processes (e.g., direct route, progress monitoring model, risk index model ) that have been used to identify students at risk for reading problems. It provides a list of screening measures schools should consider using for students in grades 1-3. A table of common screening instruments along with their respective psychometric properties serves as a quick reference list for schools investigating this type of assessment tool.

A short, concise article that discusses the purpose and nature of screening within the RtI process. It lists factors schools should consider when selecting a screening instrument and identifies the negative consequences when screening procedures are not implemented with fidelity. The article concludes with discussion of screening considerations relative to reading at Kindergarten, grades 1, 2 and beyond.

This article describes universal screening within an RtI process. It begins with a definition of universal screening followed by a list of characteristics commonly associated with effective screening measures. It identifies common screening tools and discusses the type of student performances that are measured.


Many failures of education reforms and practices are attributed to poor implementation. As schools adopt a RtI model, it is critical that essential RtI components are implemented with integrity. The focus of this presentation is on CBM implementation fidelity and practices to ensure CBM implementation fidelity in school settings. The presenter examines how general and special education teachers, reading specialists, literacy coaches, school psychologists, and school administration can ensure CBM implementation fidelity in their respective schools.

Effective RtI implementation begins with a universal screening process administered three times per year to all students. Presented during the 2010 NYS RtI TAC Summer Institute this presentation examines the infrastructure or logistics involving universal screening and identifies three distinct methods for determining at-risk status. In addition to providing the steps for establishing cut points, the presenters also focus on how to differentiate between the direct route versus the progress monitoring route within the screening process.

A webinar-based presentation which defines comprehensive screening and identifies psychometric properties associated with accurate and effective screening measures. The presentation provides a rationale for establishing local norms based on screening data and describes the types of data obtained from a comprehensive screening process. A discussion of how screening data is used within the RtI process concludes the presentation.

School-Wide Screening

Dr. Hugh W. Catts – University of Kansas (2006)

A power point presentation which provides a rationale for universal screening within the RtI process and a discussion regarding the negative consequence of inappropriate screening procedures and tools. It identifies several factors schools need to consider when selecting a screening tool. The presentation concludes with a detailed description of several screening tools with a specific focus on their psychometric properties.

RtI involves the systematic and regular use of data to make decisions about a student’s relative risk status and response to instruction or intervention. In this keynote presented at the 2010 NYS RtI TAC Summer Institute, Dr. Hintze discusses the purpose of universal screening and progress monitoring within a RtI model and their significance within a multi-tiered intervention model.

RtI coaches are critical in analyzing data, targeting school grade level and individual goals, providing professional development, modeling in the classroom and assisting administration and teachers with data-driven instructional decisions.  This presentation delivered at the 2010 NYS RtI TAC Summer Institute provides an overview of the roles of the RtI coach at the beginning of the school year specifically in universal screening, PM and Tier 1. Guidelines for facilitating RtI leadership team discussions are also addressed. 


Screening Reading Tools Chart

National Center on Response to Intervention (2009)

Designed to assist school personnel with decisions regarding selection of screening measures, the Screening Reading Tools Chart provides information regarding the technical adequacy of five screening tools: AIMWeb, DIBELS, Scholastic, Star, and STEEP. Additional information regarding administration procedures and protocol and cost of each program is also provided.


The Role of Assessment in R & R

Dr. Virginia Buysse and Dr. Ellen Peisner-Feinberg

Universal Screening

Dr. Russell Gersten

The webinar PowerPoint can accessed here -

The webinar PowerPoint can be accessed here -


The Center on Instruction provides informational materials and resources on NCLB and evidence-based practices in reading, math, science, Special Education and English Language Learning instruction.

Established through a partnership between the American Institutes for Research, Vanderbilt University and the University of Kansas and funded by the U.S. Department of Education’s Office of Special Education Programs, the NCRtI provides technical assistance designed to build capacity for RtI implementation at the state level. The center provides information in the form of articles, podcasts. Webinars, powerpoint presentations on a variety of topics and issues involving the RtI implementation and evaluation process.

This site has downloadable articles, power point presentations, Frequently Asked Question documents, and additional resources about screening, student progress monitoring, Curriculum-Based Measurement, applying decision making to IEPs and other research-based topics. All publications are designed to inform and assist audiences in implementing student progress monitoring at the classroom, building, local or state level. In addition, the Center has established a standard process to evaluate the scientific rigor of commercially available tools to monitor student progress.


Data-Based Decision Making

The RtI Action Network

This webcast aired April 2009, featuring Dr. Lynn Fuchs, Dr. Joe Kovaleski, and Mr. John Carruth.  A discussion opens with basics of data-based decision making and becomes more detailed about data types, frequency of assessment, and interpreting data.  A portion of the discussion addresses data meetings and when the data signals a change in intervention. 

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