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DIBELS and RSA: They Are Not the Enemy. June 5, 2014 Michelle Burks - Elementary ELA Coordinator. What is RSA?. RSA is the Reading Sufficiency Act The purpose it to require early childhood intervention and ensure that students are reading on grade level by 3 rd grade.

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Dibels and rsa they are not the enemy

DIBELS and RSA: They Are Not the Enemy

June 5, 2014

Michelle Burks - Elementary ELA Coordinator

What is rsa
What is RSA?

  • RSA is the Reading Sufficiency Act

  • The purpose it to require early childhood intervention and ensure that students are reading on grade level by 3rd grade.

  • RSA is the OSDE mandating that we Screen, Monitor and Intervene with all students in grades K-3.

  • RSA is the OSDE requiring us schools to provide Response to Intevention (RTI).

  • RSA is the law

Why rsa is a good thing
Why RSA is a Good Thing?

  • We need to screen our students for reading difficulties.

  • Without the law many students would never be screened, progress monitored or tested at all.

  • Students need to be on grade level be for entering 4th grade if it is within their cognitive abilities.

  • K-3 is a time where we learn to read, 4th grade is the beginning of “reading to learn” and students need a strong foundation.

Why is rsa conflicted
Why is RSA Conflicted?

  • It’s political

  • It’s additional red tape on something we are already doing

  • It has become overly complicated

  • It now has very steep consequences

How do we simply rsa
How Do We Simply RSA?

Step 1: Screen all of your students (even students on an IEP).

Step 2: Really dig deep into your screening results and make them worth your time.

Step 3: Provide your struggling students with intervention and then monitor the progress of that intervention.

Step 4: Document what you are doing.


  • Good interventions are targeted, directed and intensive.

  • A good intervention is skill specific. Ex. Long vowels, digraphs, fluency rate, sight words…etc.

  • Pick one skill and work only on that skill during intervention until progress is made.

  • Progress monitor your interventions. Either by using STAR, DIBELS or a teacher created assessment.

  • Document your time and track what you are doing.

Rsa legislation update
RSA Legislation Update

  • Students who score in the Unsatisfactory range on the reading portion of the 3rd OCCT will be retained by law IF they do not meet one of the 6 good cause exemptions (GCE).

  • As of May 2014 a committee can over ride the law and promote a student if they unanimously decide that is what is best for the child.

  • The committee must have: principal, parent, 3rd grade teacher, 4th grade teacher, reading specialist. The decision to promote must be unanimous.

How does rsa and dibels fit together
How does RSA and DIBELS fit together?

  • The OSDE requires us to choose an assessment, our is the Dynamic Indicators of Basic Early Literacy Skills (DIBELS)

  • DIBELS is our Universal Screening tool, meaning we screen every student with this assessment to gain a baseline.

  • We are required by law to benchmark our students 3 times per year and progress monitor at least monthly.

Why we shouldn t hate dibels
Why we shouldn’t Hate DIBELS

  • It’s relatively short, and still provides you with oral reading information.

  • You are provided with a substitute teacher to assist you in your benchmark assessments three times per year.

  • It gives teachers valid information to determine if a child is AT RISK of a reading difficulty.

  • It’s just a screening tool, it is not the only assessment to use when making instructional decisions. (STAR, informal class assessments)

  • DIBELS give you a baseline.

Did you know
Did You Know?

  • You can progress monitor after every 4 interventions?

  • Frequent progress monitoring can speed up the RTI Special Ed referral process.

  • You can progress monitor with out of level materials?

  • We receive RSA funds based on every student who does not meet the Fall Benchmark. Test them early, it only makes you look better in the end. 

Paperwork paperwork paperwork
Paperwork, Paperwork, Paperwork

  • It is the law that every child who does not meet the Fall and Winter benchmark be placed on an RSA Academic Performance Plan (APP).

  • This plan states: how the student performed, what you the teacher are going to do for them, what if any additional services the child will receive.

  • The APP must be signed by the parent in the fall and the spring and kept on file in the students cumulative record.

  • You must by law document your interventions.

  • Document, document, document

Using the website
Using the Website

  • You must enter your data into www.DIBELS.net after every benchmark and progress monitoring.

  • You must notify parents of the students progress.

  • Explain DIBELS to your parents using the Parents Report.

  • If you have questions check the video tutorials.

  • Check the DISTRICT website for forms and information.