In October 2016, Arkansas State Board of Education and Arkansas Department of Education (ADE) passed rules governing how K-12 schools assess and conduct interventions for children with dyslexia. In January 2017, the Arkansas department of Education rolled out a new statewide R.I.S.E (Reading Initiative for Student Excellence) Arkansas reading initiative. At that time, ADE cited the most recent ACT Aspire results (ACT, 2015) indicating 48.6 of Arkansas’ students in grades 3-10 were proficient and noting that Arkansas ranks in the lower third of states on the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP).
In a commissioner’s memo released the last week of September, 2018, the ADE commissioner established requirements for Intensive Reading Interventions (IRI) compliant with Arkansas law. Any student with an identified deficiency in reading must be provided with intensive reading instruction aligned to the tenets outlined in the state’s science of reading initiative. The student must remain in intervention until the reading deficiency is corrected. The memo outlines the communication with the parents required of districts to include a description of the services and supplemental instruction plans for the child.
Teachers and administrators in the state have been charged with closely monitoring all K–2 assessment results and to be proactive with using dyslexia screeners. Additionally, a chart of recommended K–2 assessment scores were provided to give guidance to teachers and administrators. While student interventions in some districts have been tracked with an online system called ASIS (Arkansas Student Intervention System), that system is currently off-line for enhancements. As a result, ADE provided a pdf template for schools to use in paper form.
No mention was made of reading programs or interventions for older students in this memo nor in recent missives from ADE.