MindPlay Universal Screener™ Uses Adaptive Technology to Assess Students’ Reading Skills and Prescribes Interventions

agile and adaptive learning

Program instantly analyzes K-12 students’ performance in reading to help teachers provide the right instruction to achieve improvement and measure progress

ORLANDO, FL, July 1, 2015 – Literacy publisher MindPlay showcased at the National Education Association’s (NEA) Annual Meeting MindPlay Universal Screener,  a computerized assessment that tests reading skills and identifies strengths and weaknesses for a single student, a class, or the entire K-12 school population. The results immediately provide the teacher with information to plan strategic intervention and a tool to monitor the effectiveness of the assigned intervention. This interactive computer-based analysis provides teachers with a way to easily test, isolate deficiencies, and identify each student’s specific reading abilities. With the MindPlay Universal Screener, teachers can test their entire class at the same time. Since each student’s test is randomly generated, a computer lab setting can be used to test students simultaneously. Formerly known as RAPS 360®, the updated MindPlay Universal Screener now works on any computer platform, as well as on iPads® and tablets. Educators can visit MindPlay’s booth #702 to see this program, MindPlay’s literacy software for students and professional development programs. The innovative adaptive testing leverages technology to differentiate for all students. Depending on student performance, the student will take as few as one or up to six tests. Students needing more time will automatically get more time. The tests adapt to student performance. Less time is needed to administer these computer-based assessments than teacher administered tests, giving more teaching time back to the teacher.

Adaptive tests and shorter testing times in MindPlay Universal Screener help reduce testing stress for many struggling learners. The program measures student reading behaviors using eight diagnostic tests. The tests include: Comprehension Screening Assessment, Phoneme Segmentation, Word Meaning and Recognition Assessment, Phonics-Decoding/Encoding Assessment, Eye Tracking Assessment, Natural Fluency Assessment, Expected Fluency Screening, and the Pause-Assisted Fluency Assessment (Reading Connected Text Assessment). These assessments are grouped into three test sets that provide either detailed diagnostics or a quick progress check. Depending on the test set and student performance, students may take as few as one or as many as six assessment and diagnostic tests.

In just 5 to 30 minutes, MindPlay’s Universal Screener pinpoints deficiencies in each student’s reading skills creating an electronic individualized learning plan. Student progress can be automatically monitored.  The program is adaptive and automated based on student performance. Students simply follow the testing sequence as it is presented while the system adjusts and responds based on their answers. The program develops student prescriptions for improvement and generates automatic reports for individuals, classes, schools and districts. The MindPlay Universal Screener program is both sold alone for schools that only want the assessment or who have their own reading intervention, or is included within MindPlay Virtual Reading Coach®, for schools that want a complete reading solution.

“MindPlay Universal Screener, via computer, iPad or tablet, efficiently and accurately identifies a student’s reading strengths and weaknesses. The data is immediately available and helps teachers strategically plan and target instruction and intervention,” said Lisa Garcia, M.Ed., Director of Educational Services at MindPlay. “Of great importance to schools in choosing a reading screener is the capability to use data to target instruction; as well as, the product’s ability to predict performance on high-stakes state assessments. MindPlay’s Universal Screener shows a strong correlation (89% – 92%) to student outcomes on state assessments.”

MindPlay Universal Screener is an innovative teacher tool designed to specifically identify why a student is struggling.  The program meets Response to Intervention (RTI) program requirements. More benefits include:

  • Provides a personal digital diagnostician for every student.
  • Empowers teachers to create individual learning plans for every student.
  • Allows teachers to customize features.
  • Develops student prescriptions for improvement.
  • Generates automatic reports for individuals, classes, schools and districts.
  • Groups students with similar needs.
  • Tests students quickly, requiring minimal teacher time.

The MindPlay Universal Screener assessment is appropriate for a wide range of students. The adaptive measurement gathers deeper information for teachers about a learner than a traditional test can.  Teachers can use the assessments for progress monitoring as well as screening. The program can help teachers assign the appropriate intervention, evaluate the effectiveness of instruction, and monitor the effectiveness of any assigned intervention.

A Full Diagnostic Assessment is automatically scheduled in MindPlay Universal Screener by benchmark three times per year. Although there are eight possible adaptive tests, the student’s path through testing depends on his or her skills. A Progress Monitoring Assessment is automatically scheduled every 14 days. Teachers can change the progress monitoring schedule through the management system. The purpose of progress monitoring is to give teachers a frequent and quick way to monitor student progress in both comprehension and fluency.


The reports generated allow teachers to evaluate the learning status of individual students, classes, schools, or even a district. Through automatic reporting, the program identifies underperforming students, groups students who need comparable instruction, and creates individual learning plans.

Tests are administered by the computer or mobile device, not a teacher. Therefore, the results are unbiased, and teacher time is minimized as they can test an entire class at the same time. Data is automatically collected as students are tested so that progress can be instantly reported. The program tracks students’ growth and the effectiveness of any assigned intervention. Administrators and teachers will know which interventions are working with which types of students.

Predict State Test Performance

MindPlay Universal Screener has been proven by multiple research studies to accurately predict which students will not pass the reading portion of Common Core State Assessments and other state assessments, such as the STAAR in Texas. Once teachers and administrators know which students are “Critical” and at risk of not passing, they can assign their own intervention or use MindPlay’s MVRC to help those students improve their reading skills.

In a recent district predictability study in Texas using –MindPlay Universal Screener, the program was up to 92% accurate in predicting students’ performance on the assessments.

Another study measured MindPlay Universal Screener’s accuracy predicting performance on the Pennsylvania System of School Assessment (PSSA). MindPlay Universal Screener functioned exceptionally well identifying 91% of the students who were categorized Below Basic and 89% of the students who were at the Basic level on the PSSA.

The Arizona Instrument for Measuring Standards (AIMS) is designed to evaluate students’ performance across core academic areas. An analysis of data provided by a public school district in southern Arizona that used MindPlay Universal Screener showed that among 5,170 students who Met or Exceeded AIMS grade-level standards, 83% (4,309) also Met MindPlay Universal Screener’s benchmarks. Among the 758 students designated Critical by the program, 82% (624) also failed to meet grade-level benchmarks for the AIMS. Among the MindPlay Universal Screener subtests, Comprehension was the best predictor of AIMS performance across grades.

Pricing and Availability

Universal Screener is available online now. The program is available from any computer with Internet access. Prices start at $5 per student for annual licenses and volume pricing is available for schools to purchase Universal Reading Screener.

MindPlay, Inc.

More than 30 years ago, Founder Judith Bliss started the MindPlay Company to create a solution to overcome the challenges of learning to read.  Her goal was to help struggling learners succeed in school and life, after overcoming her own reading disabilities. MindPlay’s mission is to develop, publish, and distribute cost-effective learning tools that support individual growth and skill development. The curriculum includes clear objectives, inviting graphics and modern technological innovations. MindPlay educational software programs appeal to multiple learning styles, identify individual student needs and differentiate instruction.