Literacy in the NELC

Regular communication to NELC Principals around literacy

Triangulating Data

When we triangulate data, we use multiple sources of data to illuminate, confirm, or dispute what is learned from an initial analysis of one piece of data. When looking at readers, it is essential to look for both patterns and inconsistencies across student responses to assessments.

Source: Assessment in Perspective: Focusing on the Reader Behind the Numbers

Middle and High School Triangulation

For middle and high school readers, it is recommended that these three pieces of data are used to identify patterns and inconsistencies, that then inform instructional teaching points:


STAR Early Literacy is designed for students in the early stages of literacy development. These students are usually in pre-kindergarten through third grade, but students in any grade, such as special education students or English language learners, can take the test.

STAR Reading is designed for students in grades 1 through 12. A standard administration requires that a student have a sight vocabulary of at least 100 words.

In FCS, STAR is used as a Universal Screener for the RTI process.

STAR Reading presents students with 34 test items. The first 10 items assess general comprehension. The remaining 24 test items are skill based and are taken from a variety of skill areas.


The Lexile® Framework for Reading is an educational tool that links text complexity and readers’ ability on a common metric known as the Lexile scale. A student receives a Lexile reader measure as a score from a reading test; the Lexile measure describes the student’s reading ability. Books and other texts also have a Lexile measure associated with them, and this Lexile text measure describes the book's reading demand or difficulty. When used together, these measures can help match a reader with reading material that is at an appropriate level of difficulty, or suggest how well a reader will comprehend a text.

Both STAR and GA Milestones give Lexile measures that can be used as part of the triangulation process.

Elementary Triangulation

For elementary readers, it is recommended that these three pieces of data are used to identify patterns and inconsistencies, that then inform instructional teaching points:

BAS/DRA and Running Records

The Benchmark Assessment System, or BAS, was created by Fountas and Pinnell to give teachers a text level that informs instruction. Starting in Kindergarten moving to 8th grade, students' accuracy, fluency, and comprehension is measured. Text level expectations for the months/quarters of the school year can be found here and here.

DRA levels represent on-grade level texts and correspond with the range of Fountas and Pinnell Guided Reading levels in the on-grade level zone.

In between beginning and end of year administrations (mid-year for below grade level readers), running records are used to continually inform instruction of student growth. Students who are below level are assessed weekly in order to goal set student learning.

Additional Resources


The numbers should push us to think about our purpose in assessing, ask more questions and gather additional sources of data.

Get Georgia Reading

The Get Georgia Reading Campaign is a population-focused collaboration of more than 100 public and private partners, working together to ensure that all children in Georgia learn to read proficiently by the end of third grade.

Amanda Swerdlow, NELC Humanities Program Specialist

Coming Next Week....Running Records and Before Reading Strategies