PALS Plus Screening-Only Option
For grades K-8, administering the complete PALS assessment in fall and spring provides both screening information–whether the student needs literacy intervention–and diagnostic information for planning instruction, including 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.
PALS Plus is divided into a “screening” portion and a “diagnostic” portion. Schools now have the option of using PALS Plus as a brief but accurate screening tool, OR as a complete diagnostic tool for targeting instruction. (Teachers, please consult your district administrator to find out whether your district has established local policies regarding these options.)
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).
The Entry Level tasks constitute the screening portion of PALS Plus. Once they’ve been completed, you know whether a student is identified as needing literacy intervention.*
Teachers or reading specialists then have the option to continue with the diagnostic tasks and complete the full PALS Plus assessment if they would like a diagnosis of the student’s instructional oral reading level, spelling stage, and specific foundational skills to target for instruction. Diagnostic reports, including spelling reports, appear only after all required tasks are completed for a full diagnostic assessment.
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 at least one reading passage (Oral Reading in Context) 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 Administration and Scoring Guide.
We highly recommend that teachers consider using the Online Assessment Wizard 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 can be entered and saved in the PALS Online System.
*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.
PALS Scheduling Options
PALS provides three assessment windows per school year. We recommend that a district establishes a four-week window within the dates shown on the PALS screening window calendar at right. Then, within that 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.
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.
*Screening data provided for grades K-8. PALS-PreK is used for diagnostic and progress monitoring purposes only, rather than for screening.