Assessment Options

PALS Scheduling Options

Districts and schools will need to adapt a schedule that works for them and their schools. However, we provide you with some potential options as you plan for implementation. Schools and districts are encouraged to select or modify plans that work best for them.

PALS provides three assessment windows per school year. We recommend that a district establish a four-week window within the dates shown on the PALS assessment calendar. Within each four-week window, each teacher should complete the PALS assessment for students in his/her class within a two-week period.  Click here for assessment scheduling options.

Administering Additional Assessment Tasks Beyond Required Tasks

During the fall or spring assessment windows in grades K-8, certain tasks are required to complete screening.  The online system will only save complete screening scores and complete diagnostic scores (see below) when the assessment window closes, and only complete scores entered by that deadline will show up on the downloadable data files later.  We highly recommend that teachers consider using the online system to help them determine which tasks and/or additional passages may be required.

Of course, collecting additional data, such as administering additional passages, is allowable according to teacher discretion and it can be entered and saved in the PALS Online System.

PALS Plus Screening-Only Option

Screening:  Identification of students who may be at risk for reading difficulty, so they can receive additional literacy instruction (intervention)*

Diagnosis:  Information about what the student knows or doesn’t know about literacy, to be used for planning instruction.  This may include the student’s instructional oral reading level or concept of word stage, spelling stage, specific spelling features to target, and level of mastery with foundational literacy skills.

For grades K-8, administering the complete PALS assessment in fall and spring provides both screening and diagnostic information.

PALS Plus offers the option of stopping the assessment once screening is complete, to shorten assessment time, if a school decides that the additional diagnostic information is not needed.**

  • The PALS Online System provides the option to enter scores for only the Entry Level tasks, which constitute the screening portion of PALS Plus.  The Entry Level tasks include the Spelling task and the Word Recognition in Isolation task, plus the Letter Sounds task in the fall for first graders. The remainder of the assessment (Levels A, B, and C) are considered to be the diagnostic component (although Entry Level tasks also yield some diagnostic information).
  • Teachers, please consult your district administrator to find out whether your district has established local policies regarding these options before choosing the shorter assessment.

Diagnostic reports, including spelling reports, appear only after all required tasks are completed for a full diagnostic assessment.  Also, the PALS Grouping functions are only available when complete diagnostic scores are entered for the current assessment window.

  • To get a diagnosis of instructional oral reading level and spelling stage for each student, and for the reading and spelling reports to be fully completed, teachers will need to continue with the diagnostic portion of the assessment.  This will include administration of the correct reading passage(s) for each student, plus Level B and/or Level C tasks for students who are not yet proficient at the pre-primer reading level.
  • A flowchart showing the sequence of tasks to administer for complete assessment can be found in your PALS Plus task instructions in the Teacher Set, and in the online tutorial.

*Screening data provided for grades K-8.  PALS-PreK is used for diagnostic and progress monitoring purposes only, rather than for screening.  

**Note that students in grades 4-8 who pass the entry level tasks may, however, be subsequently identified by the diagnostic tasks, if it is found that the instructional oral reading level is below grade level.