Why are all of my grade 1 students in the highest state benchmark category on the Screening Report?
The reason most students in grade 1 fall into the highest state benchmark category in the fall screening window is because the cut points for the lower state benchmark levels are relatively low. Growth norms suggest that on average, even low performing students in grade 1 tend to grow significantly before state testing in grade 3. A lot can change over the year, and we might expect to see more students projected in the lower state benchmark levels after the winter and spring screening windows.
If there is a linking study between your state assessment and the Star test, the scaled score (SS) that a student receives can be used to see if the student has reached a state benchmark. Essentially, the results of a Star test are used to predict how a student will perform on the state test. However, some grades may not have a linking study; for example, a state assessment might only have a linking to Star tests for grades 3 through 8. In cases like this, the state benchmark cut scores for the non-linked grades (grades 1 and 2) are determined using the percentile rank (PR) of the nearest linked grade (grade 3). Renaissance uses national growth norms to project students from where they currently are to where they are expected to be at the time of the state assessment.
Educators may wish to use the school or district benchmarks to guide instructional decisions for grade 1 students. School benchmarks are targets that apply to every student in a school, while district benchmarks are targets that apply to every student in a school district.