FastBridge Identifies Skills


On the FastBridge website, these icons are first noticeable. Reading and math are prominently tested on (photo by M. Winkel).

Diagnostic testing is nothing out of the ordinary for students all over the nation. COVID-19 made diagnostic testing crucial in making sure students are still hitting their grade level benchmarks.

Falling in the 85 percentile is where the “average” student is in their grade. Students falling below the 30 and 20 percentile is when intervention is implemented.

Alix Kunkle, reading interventionist, is just one of those faculty members who breaks down these test scores. Kunkle not only breaks down these scores, but also provides assistance to students who may need a push. 

“I would say FastBridge gives more insight into a student’s needs than the MAP tests did. There’s more there for us to be able to look at and identify more information,” Kunkle said. 

The process of identifying skill gaps and a need for intervention is not just defined by one test score. FastBridge is just one of the data points looked at when considering intervention.

“FastBridge is kind of like a first step. We would look at their class grades in that subject, especially looking at their quiz and test grades. We would also give them a diagnostic screening to see if the FastBridge was an outlier or if there is some need for intervention. Sometimes it’s just not taking the test seriously,” Kunkle said. 

Intervention is not the only use of the FastBridge tests. These tests can also be used to see what students are excelling in. 

“When we make those types of decisions, like what classes kids should take, we never put it on one data point. We collect a lot of data points, FastBridge may be one of those points, but we also consider how the student is doing in their current class, teacher observation, parent and student concerns play a part in that decision,” Gissel McDonald, instructional coach, said. 

Both McDonald and Kunkle stress the importance of taking these diagnostic tests seriously. These tests give the most data for teachers to use about students’ skills. 

“Every single teacher in this building is concerned about learning. The only way we can maximize learning, and the only way we can help kids who need more help, is if the FastBridge scores are reliable. So try your hardest,” McDonald said.