The Phonological Awareness Literacy Screening (PALS) is a research based screening, diagnostic, and progress monitoring tool. Wisconsin teachers use PALS to identify students at risk of developing reading difficulties, diagnose students' knowledge of literacy fundamentals, monitor progress, and plan instruction that targets students' needs. Student data collected from PALS provides a direct means of matching literacy instruction to specific literacy needs.
Wis. Stats. 118.016 requires an early literacy screener to be administered to all 4-year-old kindergarten to 1st grade students enrolled in public school districts and charter schools. Beginning with the 2014-15 school year this requirement was expanded to also include all 2nd grade students enrolled in public school districts and charter schools.
The statute also requires each school to report the screening results to the parents or guardian of each student and to provide interventions or remedial reading services to each student that is identified as being at risk of reading difficulty.
PALS has been the required screener for Wisconsin students since the 2012-13 school year when 5-year-old kindergarten students were first required to be screened. For the 2013-14 school year, the requirement to administer PALS was expanded to also include 4-year old kindergarten and first grade students. The 2014-15 expansion to also require second grade students to complete PALS is expected to be the final expansion of this requirement to screen students.
PALS assessments align with both the Common Core State Standards (CCSS) in English and Language Arts, and with the Wisconsin Model Early Learning Standards (WMELS). The tasks on PALS are representative of the understandings, knowledge, and skills outlined in both CCSS-ELA and WMELS.
There are three main PALS assessments currently being used in Wisconsin Public Schools:
- PALS-PreK - Phonological Awareness Literacy Screening for Preschool measures:
- Name Writing
- Alphabet Knowledge
- Beginning Sound Awareness
- Print and Word Awareness
- Rhyme Awareness
- Nursery Rhyme Awareness
- PALS-K - Phonological Awareness Literacy Screening for Kindergarten measures:
- Phonological awareness
- Alphabet knowledge
- Knowledge of letter sounds
- Concept of Word
- Word recognition in isolation
- PALS 1-3 - Phonological Awareness Literacy Screening for first through third grades. Wisconsin first grade teachers are following the procedures and scoring for first grade.
- Word knowledge
- Letter Sounds
- Oral Reading in Context
- Alphabet knowledge (for students who have more basic literacy skills)
- Phonemic Awareness (for students who have more basic literacy skills)
Beginning with the 2014-15 school year, PALS is to be administered to all 2nd grade students enrolled in public school districts and charter schools.