ACTION ALERT: INPUT NEEDED!
In an attempt to understand our publicly funded Virginia Universal Screener and the impact it has on our children in the classroom, Decoding Dyslexia Virginia began requesting data that is required by our universal screening law to be collected on our children in grades K-3.
To provide background:
- We understand that our state has mandated that a universal screener be administered to every child ages kindergarten through third grade.
- We are aware that the PALS assessment is the screener that the state has made available through public funds to our districts and if a district chooses to use an alternate screener, there must be an approved waiver.
- At this time, every district with the exception of Fairfax County, has committed to using the PALS screener as their fulfillment of the universal screener mandate.
Decoding Dyslexia Virginia has a mission to raise awareness and connect families to information and resources. In our work to understand the issue of dyslexia and how it is intrinsically connected to literacy in Virginia, we believe it is important to understand everything about initial literacy screenings, appropriate interventions delivered by qualified educators, and access to assistive technology and accommodations.
In an effort to increase transparency with our community, we would like to share information about our efforts to obtain the PALS data in the last few months. Please consider completing this informal community survey to enrich our understanding of screening in the state of Virginia.
If you’d like to help cover the cost for this FOIA request, please DONATE here.
Timeline for obtaining PALS data:
September 19, 2018 – A DDVA parent sent an email to the VDOE requesting information on how to access the data collected from our publicly funded state screener.
September 19, 2018 – VDOE response was that the data was accessible to vetted researchers only through the VLDS (Virginia Longitudinal Data System).
September 19, 2019 – DDVA parents respond that they are not vetted researchers and unable to access PALS data.
September 21, 2018 – DDVA parents submit an FOIA request asking for state data. This request was for information over multiple school years, to include grades K-3 and both subtest and composite test scores.
September 26, 2018 – VDOE issues the following response and invoice:
“VDOE staff has determined that it will take approximately 68.5 hours for staff to search, review, and produce the requested information. VDOE policy provides that a $19.98 per hour fee shall be assessed for staff time to respond to FOIA requests, and waives the first $20.00 of charges. Therefore, your total estimated cost to respond to this request would be $1348.63.“ Invoice available here
September 26 – October 4, 2018 – DDVA founding members conducted discussions regarding next steps. Outreach to additional experts in the field for guidance on our efforts to collect PALS data that was not readily accessible with our initial parent request
October 11, 2018 – DDVA submitted the $674.32 deposit (link google doc of invoice) through the mail to move forward with the data request.
October 18, 2018 – VDOE receipt of deposit begins the work on the DDVA FOIA request.
October 18, 2018 – VDOE files for an extension, new due date October 31, 2018
October 31, 2018 – DDVA receives answers to specific questions from VDOE. Raw data for dollars that districts have received through the publicly funded Early Intervention Reading Initiative, EIRI
November 1, 2018 – DDVA sends the remaining balance of $674.32 to VDOE through the mail.
November 1, 2018 – Present – DDVA begins analysis of data.