PALS data can and should be used to drive and target differentiated instruction for all students, including those who exceed the benchmarks. Students who do meet the benchmarks may not need remedial intervention, but still need to receive literacy instruction that is targeted to meet their needs and strengths in each reading skill area in order to grow as readers. Furthermore, assessing at mid-year and spring continues to be important, even when students met benchmarks in the fall. Note that benchmarks are different in the spring than in the fall.
Pay particular attention to “borderline” students (those who score at or just slightly above the benchmark) to ensure they don’t begin to struggle, fall behind, and later possibly end up identified and needing additional instruction (intervention). Look further at specific task scores and student responses to evaluate whether a student is struggling with specific skills, and to target reading instruction accordingly. It is advisable to administer the whole assessment again in the next window, especially with these students. Literacy skills are connected; they are not discrete isolated skills that have no impact on the development of the other skills. Note that the last thing a teacher would want to see is a student who meets the benchmark now (indicating they are ready to learn and move forward) but then later does not meet the benchmark because s/he did not receive instruction targeted to her/his needs and strengths.