Teacher administering AssessmentAs you gear up for a productive winter season, let’s take a minute to think about spring. We recommend using benchmark assessment data to compare the average weekly improvement of your students to the norms in the Average Weekly Improvement (AWI) table. Additionally, this data can help you set spring targets for your students.

Comparing your students’ weekly fluency gains to national norms provides a useful snapshot of how they measure up to their peers, but it’s equally important to determine whether a student is making the right amount of growth compared to him/herself. Some school districts have predetermined spring targets for students. If your district does not have predetermined targets, you can set them yourself.

To set a spring target for an individual student, follow these steps:

  1. Determine how many words correct per minute (WCPM) you expect your student to gain each week. Use the AWI column in the AWI table as a guide, but keep in mind that the AWI column shows how your student must perform to stay at the same percentile ranking. If your student is at a low WCPM, you want the student to exceed the gains in the AWI column in order to move to a higher percentile ranking.
  2. Multiply this number by the number of weeks between the fall and spring assessments.
  3. Add the number you calculated in step 2 to the student’s score on the fall assessment. This number is the student’s target for the spring assessment. 
    Note:  You may also set spring targets using winter assessment data. Use the student’s winter assessment score and the number of weeks between the winter and spring assessments.
  4. To make sure the student is working toward grade-level proficiency, compare the number you calculated in step 3 to the long-term benchmark goal for the student according to the Hasbrouck-Tindal Oral Reading Fluency Norms. The student’s long-term benchmark goal is to read unpracticed, grade-level material accurately, expressively, with understanding, and at a rate that is at least at the 50th percentile of national norms.

Consider the following example. Let’s say there are 34 weeks between the fall assessment and the planned spring assessment. Your student’s fall assessment score is 63 WCPM, and you expect him to gain 1.2 WCPM per week. To set his spring target, multiply 1.2 by 34, and round to the nearest whole number to get 41. This number indicates that you can expect a growth of 41 WCPM between the fall and spring assessments. To set the spring target, add 41 to the fall assessment score of 63. This student’s spring target is 104 WCPM.

If the student is in first, second, or third grade, this is an acceptable spring target as shown by the spring WCPM scores on the Hasbrouck-Tindal Table. It may also be an acceptable spring target for students in higher grades, because weekly improvement gains are typically less than 1.2 words per week in grades three through eight. Some students need more than one year of fluency training before reaching grade-level proficiency, even if they are making good AWI gains.

Setting spring targets can help you monitor your students’ weekly growth more closely and ensure that they are on track to meet their goals. As always, if you have questions about this topic, we’re here to help. Leave a comment, call 800.788.4085, or email info@readnaturally.com.