Approximate time to complete: 60 minutes 

Note: This is the first course in the Intervention and Assessment Sequence 

Download the Course Companion document before starting this course. You can use the Companion Document to take notes on your learning, address reflection prompts and as an easy way to retrieve course resources.  

Course Objectives: 

Participants will be able to...
  • Explain different types of assessments for adolescent literacy and their connection to one another
  • Analyze their current assessment approaches to find areas to improve

Consider This Scenario

Connection Point

In your Course Companion document, consider:  

  • Can you relate to the above scenario? In what ways are your challenges in literacy instruction similar or different? 

Based on classroom performance and results on Ohio’s State Tests in English Language Arts, the teachers at Main Middle School know that many of their students struggle with reading. They have spent time analyzing the questions on the English Language Arts test and have tried to support their students with study skills and test practice questions. However, they haven’t seen any improvement in student performance. The teachers and the administrators know there is a problem, but they aren’t sure how to determine what the root cause is or where to start.

A system of efficient and effective literacy assessments can help you identify the causes of students' reading difficulties. 

What do we know about students’ reading difficulties in the older grades?

This interactive activity will introduce you to some common challenges to reading that adolescent students face and how assessments can help to identify them. Click the square button in the presentation to make it full screen. 

Identifying Student Needs 

Watch the following video by Dr. Joan Sedita to learn more about identifying student needs through assessments. There is a place to take notes on the video in your Course Companion. 

Knowledge Check

Complete the following short quiz to check your knowledge.


The following resource can help you better understand how to select and implement literacy assessments at your building or district. 

  1. Browse the information provided on AdLit about literacy assessments at the secondary level. After reviewing, write down a list of what assessments are currently in place in your setting and what may need to be added.

Course Reflection

Let’s revisit our scenario from above and see what is different at Main Middle School after adjusting their comprehensive assessment system for reading as a part of a multi-tiered system of support.

After learning about developing a comprehensive assessment system for reading at the secondary level, the administrators at Main Middle School began to implement a universal screener to understand students’ literacy skills and specific needs. The screener they selected allows them to screen all middle school students three times a year, using measures that align to essential literacy skills. These include measures of oral and silent reading fluency. The oral reading fluency provides information about students’ words read correct per minute as well as accuracy. The silent reading fluency measure provides information about students’ general reading proficiency and basic comprehension.

Now that they have collected this data and identified which students are at risk, the next step is for the team to determine what assessments are needed to identify students’ specific skill gaps and instructional needs. The team will then use this data to determine what intervention needs to be provided to each student.

Answer the following questions in your Course Companion:

  1. Consider the students who struggle with reading in your setting. Do you know what their specific literacy skill needs are? Is a system in place to identify the specific skills or areas of need?
  2. What are some next steps you can take to review your current assessment system and determine if any changes need to be made?

To Learn More

If you want to learn more, please see:

  1. Adolescent Literacy: Addressing the Needs of Students in Grades 4-12 (Joan Sedita) provides an overview of the critical needs of adolescent learners in grades 4-12 and the components that schools and districts can implement.
  2. Assessments to Guide Adolescent Literacy Instruction (Center on Instruction) provides additional information on the key elements of a comprehensive assessment plan to improve literacy instruction for adolescents.
  3. The Academic Screening Tools Chart from the Center for Intensive Intervention can be used to learn more about evidence-based screening tools.
  4. Review the Screening Implementation Toolkit from the National Center on Improving Literacy for tools and resources to support selection of a universal screener and best practices for universal screening.


Please take a moment to fill out this feedback form. We will use your feedback to improve this and other courses. 

Last Modified: 6/9/2023 10:22:46 AM