EVSC Early Student Reading Assessments to Go Digital this Fall
School Board set to vote on speedier "Amira Assessment;" will replace one-on-one system
At the Evansville Vanderburgh Public Library (EVPL) in downtown Evansville, Londyn Head, 4, isn’t doing much reading, but hopefully kindling a love of books.
She’s putting a puzzle together on the floor with mother Davita Johnson. Before that, she was playing the “I Spy” game looking for tiny objects inside a fish tank.
Johnson said she’s getting her daughter into reading by exposing it to her regularly and taking her to fun places like the library, trying to build an “authentic love of reading.”
Londyn is too young for reading assessments, but Johnson is still getting her ready to read.
Pending board approval — the Evansville Vanderburgh School Corporation will have a new reading assessment for the coming school year. It’s called the Amira Assessment and up until now, educators would work one-on-one with students to check on their reading progress several times starting in kindergarten.
By third grade, the district hopes students are “reading to learn” instead of “learning to read.”
Bethany Goth is director of kindergarten through third grades. She said this program will speed up assessing students for reading ability.
“What we have used in the past is a one to one assessment,” she said. “So a teacher would sit down with every student and they would screen them individually. What we're looking at now is digital. And it's also going to require less time and we can screen multiple students at one time.”
She said finding out who needs help reading is important — especially before third grade.
“Those are really crucial years and early reading skills,” she said. “Those skills build on each other very quickly. And we want to make sure that students are prepared that when they enter third grade and above, they can really access that content that they're reading.”
Should a student need extra help learning to read, the district provides some intervention activities to help them along. Currently EVSC provides reading intervention for about 1,400 of their 20,000 students.
The program will cost $43,200 annually and is funded by early intervention grants. The board will officially vote on the matter at the next meeting.