Istation’s products were designed to be accessible to all young elementary students. We work with school districts throughout the country serving more than 4 million students nationwide. We are proud of the results our products have yielded – helping students develop reading skills through our assessments and tools, including students with learning disabilities.
Despite misinformation about Istation’s products that has been spread throughout social media, Istation provides an effective screening tool for dyslexia and other learning disabilities. Istation’s program also meets North Carolina law that requires young students are screened for the risk of learning disabilities like dyslexia and that interventions are provided to them to address learning difficulties in both language and reading.
Istation’s products are already used as a screener for learning disabilities in other states and districts – and our products meet the requirements of North Carolina’s laws as a dyslexia screening tool. Since being selected as the reading assessment tool for North Carolina this summer, Istation has been working with state officials to create a customized dyslexia screening tool program for the state’s students.
Understandably, screening for dyslexia is a major concern for parents, educators and teachers to ensure that students are both screened for learning disabilities and also provided with the appropriate tools to help them read and learn alongside their peers.
Istation has been employing these tools for years as an integral part of our assessment system. The screening products include subtests that are specifically used to help identify students at risk of dyslexia and other difficulties.
One of the foremost researchers on the topic of dyslexia, Joseph Torgesen, an Emeritus Professor of Psychology and Education at Florida State University, helped create Istation’s assessment tool based on research that showed a key indicator includes difficulty in developing phonemic awareness and alphabetic knowledge of skills, or “sounding out” words (oral language skills).
The tool developed by Mr. Torgesen as part of Istation’s team provides reliable, continuous assessments in this area and is credited with being an important aid to help identify students at risk of dyslexia early in their academic careers. In addition, because Istation is adaptive, it adjusts the subtests based on performance, so those students in need receive the subtests more relevant to their areas of need.
While Istation meets the criteria set by North Carolina to screen for dyslexia – and we strongly believe it’s critical for an assessment tool to provide dyslexia screening – it’s also important to note that there is no single tool that can fully diagnose dyslexia – including the state’s previous assessment by Amplify. Experts in the field of dyslexia studies agree that it is a complex diagnosis that involves many people, observations and data points used together. Only after there is a full index of information collected can a proper diagnosis be made by a specialist.
Istation’s products have been instrumental in providing a piece of the puzzle to help identify students at risk of dyslexia, and the tools have a track record of alerting teachers to conduct a thorough evaluation of a student. But like other assessments, including the state’s previous program, these screenings are one of the many pieces of information needed. It is reckless for anyone to imply to the public – and more importantly to parents – that a single screening tool can be a catch-all for a dyslexia diagnosis.
In addition, Istation Reading has been reviewed and endorsed by the Council of Administrators of Special Education, the National Center on Response to Intervention and the Florida Center for Reading Research. More than a dozen studies and reviews conducted during the last decade prove Istation’s learning programs deliver results.
North Carolina’s state law was thoughtfully developed to ensure that students with learning disabilities are provided with a set of tools – including screening programs – to alert teachers of their issue and address their unique needs. It was not intended to provide an “all-in-one” diagnostic solution – which does not exist.
Istation meets North Carolina’s state law as an assessment tool that can be used as one important data point for dyslexia screening and our results in other states show that we are ready to help all of North Carolina’s early readers.