Using PALS Data: End-of-the-Year Tips

Part I: Sharing with Colleagues for First Grade Transition

Spending time analyzing, reflecting, and sharing data can feel like “one more thing” during this busy time. We have found that it is one of “the things” that can make a huge difference in supporting the successful transitions of our students.

Step 1. Reflect as a kindergarten team.

We suggest looking at Class Performance by Task reports, found on your Reports tab in the Information for Grouping section, as a kindergarten team. This report displays all task scores, with Identified students separated from students who met the Summed Score Benchmark.

Consider your own class, as well as similarities and differences across classes. This is a time, as a team, to reflect on what worked well with this class, and what areas may not have gotten as much attention or may not have resulted in as much progress for students. This type of reflection is the foundation for high quality instruction. Here are some essential questions:

  • Where are class strengths? Rhyme? Beginning Sounds? Lower-case letter recognition? Are there patterns to students who are below benchmark? Is it the same in all classes?

  • Do students who have all or most letters and sounds apply them in spelling and COW?

Step 2. Share with the First Grade Team.

Remember that in first grade, the PALS assessment shifts from a focus on foundational skills to applied reading skills. Yet, the information you have on a student’s foundation is critical as first grade teachers plan their instruction early in the year. Use your reflections as a kindergarten team to create a valuable summary for the first grade teams that includes:

  • The overall strengths and weaknesses of the class. How much do they know about letters, letter sounds, rhyme, and beginning sounds? How well are they applying what they know in spelling and COW?
  • A “watch list” – particularly those students above the Summed Score Benchmark, who did not score the maximum (25 points) on COW tasks. For these students, recommend that first grade teachers assess COW in the fall, even if these students are not required to take Part B.
  • Data from any high-performing students who were administered PALS 1-3.
PreK Teachers

In this blog we focused primarily on ways to consider your data and prepare supports to aid your children’s transition to first grade. Another transition is that of PreK to K. Many of you have PreK in your building and/or have children coming from state-funded preschool programs. These students have PALS data, and exploring their scores can help you determine how to support their transition. Therefore, you may consider asking PreK teachers to share the following reports:

  • Class Summary. Similar to PALS-K Class Summary, this report displays all of the task scores for each student. The green circle indicates that the student’s score is within the Spring Developmental Range for that particular task.
  • Individual Task Growth. Similar to PALS-K Individual Task Growth, this report displays growth graphs for each PALS-PreK task in relation to Spring Developmental Range and maximum scores.

As soon as the student is on your class list in the fall, check the Student Summary: All School Years report. If your student participated in a publicly-funded PreK program anywhere in Virginia, the data will appear on this report.

Collaboration with grade-level and vertical teams builds a more supportive learning environment for our students.

Join us next week for Part II: Sharing with Families.


More questions? VKRP provides support via the online chat feature when you are in the system, via email vkrp@virginia.edu, and via toll free 866-301-8278 ext. 1.