What are the Amira Benchmark Testing Windows?
If it's time to plan out your district (or school) testing windows, start here. As a reminder, Amira's assessment tools are threefold:
- Dyslexia Screening to identify students at risk of reading difficulties like dyslexia;
- Benchmark Testing to assess for early literacy skills (fluency, phonemic awareness, decoding, accuracy, vocabulary, and comprehension) and track growth three times a year; and
- Progress Monitoring to more frequently measure growth and provide timely data to inform RTI or other instructional programs.
You will want to account for these three types of testing in your schedule.
Planning your schedule
- Most districts administer the Dyslexia Screener once a year. By default, Amira screens students during the Beginning of Year (BOY) window. You may choose to enable it during the MOY and/or EOY as well. The Dyslexia Screener is typically followed by the Benchmark assessment.
- The Benchmark assessment is available 3 times a year: Fall (BOY), Winter (MOY), and Spring (EOY). As a reminder, the Benchmark is a 4-8 minute passage that students read aloud, also referred to as the Oral Reading Fluency (ORF) passage. The Benchmark assessment uses the observational power of technology to measure many more dimensions of reading ability beyond accuracy (words correct) and speed (minutes spent reading aloud). It also measures reading mastery, phonemic awareness, sight recognition, vocabulary, and comprehension.
- Progress Monitoring is available about every other week (~20 times per year), and is similar to the Benchmark: students read a grade-level passage aloud for about 4-8 minutes. Progress Monitoring assessments yield the same metrics as the Benchmark: WCPM, reading mastery, phonemic awareness, sight recognition, vocabulary, and comprehension.
Static testing windows
The start dates and end dates of these windows are not (yet) flexible, so we recommend you plan accordingly. For example, if you would like to test students
Use this Google Doc planning tool Amira Testing Calendar 21-22 to plan your windows.
❗ NOTE: Make sure your assessments have been configured so that staff and students are able to access the correctly configured assessments.
The Dyslexia Screener and/or Benchmark Assessment can be assigned in one of two ways:
- Teachers assign it via the Tracking Report, or
- A district administrator uses the Mass-Assign feature in the Amira Admin WebApp.
Any time an assessment is assigned within windows above, students will receive the Dyslexia Screener and/or Benchmark Assessment upon login.
❗ NOTE: There is a unique version of the Benchmark Assessment passage for each of the Fall, Winter and Spring terms. Make sure your testing window does not cross over the static terms. Regardless of when the test has been assigned, whenever a student logs in during the designated timeframes, they will be presented with the test form that aligns with the Amira testing windows.
Here are the Benchmark Assessment passages or form titles by grade level for each window:
When using Progress Monitoring
If you are using Progress Monitoring, you will need to pre-set the district-wide benchmark assessment before each of the above static testing windows opens. Use the Mass-Assign feature to do this. Learn how to plan for Progress Monitoring before you enable it.
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