Diagnostic Testing

Assessing Skill Level:

The first step toward meeting a student’s needs is to assess areas of strength and areas that may require individualized attention.

Northwest K-8 Learning Support offers assessments that focus on skill levels in each of the core subjects: reading, writing, and math. Child-friendly, web-based diagnostic testing will be initially used to assess skill levels. If necessary, diagnostic testing is followed-up with more informal assessments to target areas that require special attention.


Math: Curriculum-Based Assessments are used to test specific computational skills with whole numbers, fractions, and decimals. Further testing is accomplished with an online assessment(Diagnostic Online Math Assessment). Middle-school students take an online pre-algebra assessment including: exponents, ratios, probability, integers, simplifying expressions, solving linear equations, geometry, and interpreting data. Math assessments are followed-up with a written report summarizing the student’s strengths and recommendations for areas in need of further instruction. Pre and post-test scores will be noted on student learning logs to document progress.


Reading: Students with emergent reading skills will be tested with Dibels (Dynamic Indicator for Basic Early Literacy Skills). Fluency and comprehension are tested with the Qualitative Reading Inventory. Test scores are used to determine a student’s reading level. This information is important to keep in mind, so that students can choose books that range from easy to challenging. Easier books build confidence and allow a child to read with independence. Harder books can be read with assistance and are an excellent way to teach new vocabulary or to improve comprehension.


Writing: Student writing is assessed by a timed response to a writing prompt. Writing responses assess a student’s use of writing conventions. More informal writing samples are used to assess organization, word choice, presentation, ideas, voice, or sentence fluency- The Six Traits.


Reporting: Once the assessment is completed, families will be given a report summarizing the results of the initial assessment, and a plan will be developed to address gaps in learning or to acknowledge strengths that may have been overlooked. Scores from any other assessments will be noted on student learning logs to help monitor progress.


Assessing How a Student Learns:

In addition to addressing specific skills, Northwest K-8 Learning Support places special emphasis on how a child learns.

A child’s individual preferences and strengths will be taken into account when developing materials and methods for each tutoring session.

Northwest K-8 Learning Support will determine how a child: 1) recognizes and identifies important information and 2) uses strategies to organize their work, interpret information, and problem solve.

Each student uses their natural strengths and capabilities to help them learn. Northwest K-8 Learning Support will tap into those strengths and build on them to ensure continued progress and academic growth.