Research to Practice Partnership

Research to Practice

Over the past couple years, Elmbrook MTSS developed a partnership with the School Psychology Program at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee. The School District of Elmbrook is an excellent research partner as the district has established screening procedures and tools to ensure anonymous and accurate data collection and retrieval. The benefits of conducting research are mutually beneficial to the district and university. Elmbrook is able to provide a welcoming suburban environment and an ongoing supply of student data. All identifying student information is removed from the data provided to UWM. The university has provided assistance and guidance in the recommended methods to analyze large amounts of data. These projects have increased district knowledge of methods required to analyze data to refine and improve processes.

Study 1:

Just recently, an article was published in the journal, Remedial and Special Education, based on a partnership between researchers from UW-Milwaukee, Serve Minnesota, Georgia State University and the School District of Elmbrook. The purpose of the study was to examine the accuracy of screening measures (MAP, Oral Reading CBM, and Running Records) when used as single screening measures or when used as part of a gated screening model. The purpose was to examine the accuracy of fall screening measures relative to performance on the state test in spring. In general, results from the study indicated the MAP was a reliable and valid screening measure and the use of Oral Reading and Running Records slightly improved accuracy. The authors recommended that other districts could use the methods in this study to evaluate screening processes. Targets and warning indicators need to be analyzed with regard to the students served by the district rather than accepting targets and warning indicators provided by professionals outside school districts.

Klingbeil, D.A., Nelson, P.M., Van Norman, E.R., & Birr, C. (2017). Diagnostic accuracy of multivariate universal screening procedures for reading in upper elementary grades. Remedial and Special Education. Advance online publication. doi: 10.1177/0741932517697446.

Study 2:

Over the past couple years, Wisconsin has had a couple different state tests. Although the state changed tests, many districts continued using the same universal screening measures. Elmbrook has been using NWEA Measures of Academic Progress (MAP) in reading and math during the time when the state changed from the Badger 3-8 to the Wisconsin Forward Exam. The same team from the first study examined whether the screening measures targets remained accurate for predicting proficiency on the different state tests over time, mainly in the upper elementary grades. In Elmbrook, screening targets are established through a reliance on linking studies provided by NWEA that indicate the level students should achieve to indicate likely proficiency on the spring state test. This method allows teachers to have a rough idea if a student scores above the seasonal target, the student is likely to be on track for proficiency on the state test in spring. Results from this study indicated that although tests may change, established proficiency levels on screening measures remains fairly accurate over time. When provided by vendors such as NWEA, results from this study indicated that target scores remain fairly reliable over time even when the state tests change. The practical application from this is that districts could rely on previous criteria prior to the establishment of new targets based on new tests.

Klingbeil, D.A., Van Norman, E.R., Nelson, P.M., & Birr, C. (2017). Evaluating screening procedures across changes to the statewide achievement test. Manuscript submitted for publication.

Upcoming Study:

In fall of 2016, a study examining the accuracy of middle school math screening measures was initiated. Participating middle school students were asked to complete curriculum based measures (CBMs) in the areas of computation and concepts and applications. These scores were collected and will be used to examine how accurately NWEA MAP Math and math CBM identifies proficiency or risk relative to outcomes on the Wisconsin Forward Exam (math). Most screening research involved reading and elementary age students. The current study is examining math screening with middle school students. Findings and updates will be shared in the future.