Community Update 9/24

September 24, 2020


Universal Screener (iReady) in Elementary Schools

The Fairfax County Public Schools (FCPS) School Board adopted a universal screener assessment for use with all elementary school students in kindergarten through grade 6. The universal screener assessment includes a reading test and a mathematics test. Students in kindergarten will receive screening for reading only. Students in grades 1-6 will receive screening for both mathematics and reading.

The purpose of this assessment is to identify students who may have gaps in foundational literacy and mathematics skills. Based on universal screener results, some students may require an additional assessment to further diagnose the specific learning areas that may need support. The universal screener reading test, together with any necessary follow-up diagnostic assessments, also fulfills state testing expectations for primary students.

The universal screener and any necessary follow-up assessments will be given at the beginning of the school year. Depending on grade level and previous screener performance, students may receive screening again in the winter and/or in the spring. Schools set the specific dates for testing in each class. For the expected dates when your child will test, please contact your child’s teacher.  Most Spring Hill students in grades 1-6 will take the Reading assessment on Monday, September 28 and the Math assessment on Monday, October 5.  The Kindergarten testing date is still TBD.

Additional information, including a short video, about the universal screener in FCPS can be found at this webpage: If you have further questions about this assessment, please contact your child’s teacher or the school’s test coordinators, Amy Briggs and Bill Mosher.

Classroom teachers will be showing the students how to log in and take the assessment. Additional information for families regarding the Universal Screener can be found below and by clicking here:

  • Students will log into the assessments from home using their FCPS username and password at the following site: (Be sure to use the Chrome browser when accessing iReady).
  • By completing this assessment the student acknowledges their adherence to the SHES/FCPS honor code: “On my honor I have neither given nor received help on this work.”
  • Students should have the volume turned up (or wear headphones) when taking the test
  • Please encourage children to continue to move through the test and not get caught up on any one question; the test is designed for students to answer some questions incorrectly in order to triangulate their level
  • Students may encounter content they haven’t learned yet and the system pinpoints student need through triangulation of correct and incorrect responses

Your students will be participating in several formative tests throughout the year that are meant to guide future instruction.  This honest data is valuable and it is important to ensure we have an accurate representation of what your child can achieve independently, without support from other resources or people. We must ask you to not assist your child when they need to answer content related questions. The feedback these assessments provide will allow us to adjust instruction to best meet the needs of each child.




Fairfax County Public Schools (FCPS) offers a continuum of advanced academic services for all students in Grades K-12. Learning experiences are designed to develop higher-level thinking through enrichment, acceleration, and extension of the Virginia Standards of Learning (SOLs). Teachers, administrators, and Advanced Academic Resource Teachers (AARTs) work together to provide the following levels of services at the elementary level. A video showing each level of service in action, as well as information about middle and high school services, can be found at

  • Critical and Creative Thinking Lessons, Grades K-6 (Level I)

Level I services are provided to all students in Kindergarten through Grade 6. Level I services includes teaching students to use critical and creative thinking skills to process content. It also includes periodic opportunities to use advanced academic curriculum throughout the year. Student responses to these lessons are used as part of the identification process for Levels II-IV. Parents may practice the nine strategies during family conversations and activities. Descriptions and videos of the nine critical and creative thinking strategies can be found at

Because Level I services are for all FCPS students, there is not a screening process.

  • Differentiated Lessons in Areas of Academic Strength, Grades K-6 (Level II)

Level II services are available for students in Kindergarten through Grade 6 for students with strength in a specific subject area. The AART collaborates with classroom teachers to provide additional challenges using materials from the AAP Curriculum Framework for Levels II-IV to extend and enrich in the subject area strength. Screening for this level of service is ongoing throughout the school year. Multiple criteria are used to screen for this level of service and decisions are made at the local school level.

Teachers automatically screen for Level II services. If you want to have your student screened for Level II services, complete the AAP School-Based Referral Form available on the Forms page:

  • Part-Time Advanced Academic Programs, Grades 3-6 (Level III)

Level III services are available for students in Grades 3-6 who are eligible for part-time direct services from the AART. Students are identified by a screening committee at the local school.The AART uses materials from the AAP Curriculum Framework for Levels II-IV in the four core subject areas through either a weekly pull-out class or weekly co-teaching model with the classroom teacher. Screening for this level of service is ongoing throughout the school year.Multiple criteria are used to screen for this level of service and decisions are made at the local school level.

To have your student screened for Level III services, complete the AAP School-Based Referral Form available on the Forms page:

  • Full-Time Advanced Academic Programs, Grades 3-8 (Level IV)

Level IV services are available for students in Grades 3-8 who are found eligible through a central selection process. Eligible students use curriculum from the AAP Curriculum Framework in the four academic subject areas on a full-time basis.

Multiple criteria are reviewed to determine eligibility for all FCPS advanced academic services. The countywide central selection committee determines eligibility for full-time AAP Level IV placement.

Screening for Level IV services occurs during specific screening cycles:

  • Fall screening is held for students who are new to FCPS and have been referred
  • Spring screening is held for any FCPS-enrolled student who has been referred

Due to the volume of files screened centrally for Level IV services, deadlines are strictly held. 

  • A referral form may be turned in during the referral window (beginning on the first day of school, ending on the published deadline)
  • Students new to FCPS may be considered for Fall screening and Spring screening
  • The referral form is available on the Forms page:

Additional information about the holistic screening process and information used for screening can be found at

Middle and High School AAP

Additional information about middle and high school services may be found on the Advanced Academic Programs web page:

Elementary Parent Information Meeting

Two parent information meetings will be held at Spring Hill ES. Videos will be emailed to families to watch at their leisure the week of September 28th. A BBCU meeting to answer any questions about the continuum of services and the screening process will be held October 5th and 8th at 4:30 PM using this link BBCU with Ms. James - AART (Spring Hill ES)

Ability Testing

For current information on ability testing, please visit the Testing and Identification Timeline at

Students must have one ability test score to go through the Level IV screening process.