Florida Assessments for Instruction in Reading (FAIR)
Figuring out just how to assess student reading in grades K-2 and 3-12 is a time-consuming, costly and headache-ridden process for many educators. Help has arrived in Florida in the form of a $7.7 million statewide assessment system. In collaboration with the Florida Center for Reading Research, the state Department of Education has developed the Florida Assessments for Instruction in Reading (FAIR), an adaptive, computer-based formative assessment system that any public school in the state can use free of charge (hardware not included).
FAIR offers educators in other states an instructive model in how to assess reading in students. So far, 3,400 schools in all of the 67 districts in the state are using FAIR, says Barbara Elzie, deputy director of the Department of Education’s statewide reading initiative, Just Read, Florida!. About 1.6 million students have been tested with FAIR, over 1 million in grades 3-12. Use of FAIR is optional except in kindergarten.
How FAIR Works
Florida students in grades 3-12 self-administer the Florida Assessments for Instruction in Reading (FAIR). But, in grades K-2 teachers must administer the assessments individually to their students 3 times a year which is an issue for teachers, who were not involved in testing their students before, says Barbara Elzie, deputy director of the Department of Education’s statewide reading initiative, Just Read, Florida!.
Assessment was done by assessment teams. Teachers are complaining that testing their students is time-consuming under FAIR. Schools’ use of FAIR is
optional except in kindergarten. On the upside, teachers have access to monthly assessments for all students making it easier to monitor students’ progress towards meeting end-of-year benchmarks. FAIR testing is expected to replace DIBELS testing at schools that used them for Reading First.
There are four types of assessments in FAIR for K-2:
- the Broad Screen/Progress Monitoring Tool given to all students in 3-5 min.
- the Broad Diagnostic Inventory, which includes comprehension and vocabulary tasks
- the Targeted Diagnostic Inventory
- Ongoing Progress Monitoring Broad Screen/Progress Monitoring
In kindergarten, the broad screen contains measures of letter-name knowledge, letter-sound knowledge,phonological awareness, and word reading. Grades 1 and 2 both involve word reading tasks, with the grade 1 task as time unlimited, and grade 2 word reading being a timed test. The screen identifies students who are not likely to be successful on the end of year outcome test.
Broad Diagnostic Inventory
The diagnostic inventory tests for comprehension, expressive vocabulary and spelling, administered as a group test in in grade 2. The comprehension task consists of explicit and implicit questions, story grammars and situation models that increase in difficulty over the grades. Kindergarten students are tested for listening comprehension and grades 1 and 2 for reading comprehension. The reading comprehension task also includes scores for accuracy and fluency (i.e., words correct per minute). The expressive vocabulary task measures the breadth and depth of a student’s vocabulary. The student is asked to label objects, actions, or attributes and is prompted in cases where an answer requires further precision. The spelling task in grade 2 assesses students’ phonological and orthographic knowledge of words.
Targeted Diagnostic Inventory
The following assessments are administered according to grade level to pinpoint student difficulties:
- Kindergarten: Optional Print Awareness, Letter Name and SoundKnowledge, Phoneme Blending and Phoneme Deletion, Letter-Sound Connections(Initial and Final), and Word Building tasks (initial and final consonants and medial vowels).
- Grade 1: Letter-Sound Knowledge, Phoneme Blending Phoneme Deletion(initial and final), and Word Building tasks that progress from consonants andvowels to CVCe and blends.
- Grade 2: The same Phoneme Deletion and Word Building tasks as thosein the Grade 1 and a Multisyllabic Word Reading task.
Ongoing Progress Monitoring
Multiple probes from the Targeted Diagnostic Inventory are used for ongoing progress monitoring. In grades 1 and 2, monitoring includes equated, short passages for assessing oral reading fluency in one minute.
Florida Assessment for Instruction in Reading Technical Manual 2009-2010
Edition Kindergarten – Grade 2, State of Florida Department of Education, 2009.