Earlier this week, the Department of Education and Workforce (DEW) issued a guidance document designed to assist district personnel with administering legally required literacy assessments to students with disabilities. Ohio Revised Code (RC) 3323.251 requires districts to screen students in certain grade bands for dyslexia. Tier 1 universal screening must be administered to all students who fall in certain grade bands. The requirements for which students must be screened were recently amended by Ohio House Bill (HB) 33, and these changes were discussed in detail in a previous Legal Ledger blog post last summer. The guidance and resources in the document also apply to screenings and assessments required by the third grade reading guarantee, codified at RC 3313.608.

There are no exceptions to the dyslexia screening requirement, meaning that any student who falls within the statutory criteria must be screened. This includes students with disabilities, who may require significant accommodations or modifications in order to access the screening. As the guidance notes, any accommodations and modifications should be discussed by the student’s IEP team and should be documented in the IEP. However, the guidance provides resources for teams to consider for students with certain disability needs, including students who are blind or visually impaired, students with complex behaviors, students with complex communication needs, students with fine or gross motor differences, students with multi-sensory needs, students who are deaf or hard of hearing, and students with significant intellectual difference.

For each of these categories, the document lists possible accommodations or modifications that might be appropriate for those students as well as practical considerations for district personnel and links to outside resources that may offer the district additional training or supports for providing those modifications.

For more information about the resource and the dyslexia screening and support requirements more generally, visit DEW’s dyslexia screening page. District personnel may also direct questions to DEW at Dyslexia@education.ohio.gov

Posted by John R. Price on 1/19/2024