How To Use The Test

How to create classes and add children to ATLAS:

1. Go to The Google Chrome browser works best

2. Make an account — or Enter a username and password you have created. You will not have to verify your account, but will have immediate access.

3. Before children can be added, a class with a name needs to be made. To create a new class, press the Add Class button. Then, type in the new class name and hit submit.

4. Now that you have created a new class, click on the class name to add a student. You will then need to click on the Add Student button at the bottom right of the page.  


5. Choose a child ID. You can use a number or letters, but there may be no spaces in the ID.

6. Enter the child’s date of birth (MM/DD/YYYY).

7. Enter the child’s method of input (i.e., touchscreen or cursor).

8. Enter the level of instructions (Basic, Basic+, or Enhanced) based on the description provided below.

Select Basic if the child:

  • Knows basic phonological awareness (PA) concepts
  • Has few behavioral issues

Select Basic+ if the child:

  • May not be familiar with PA concepts
  • Has one or two behavioral or cognitive challenges
  • Is a relatively independent test taker

Select Enhanced if the child:

  • May not be familiar with PA concepts
  • Needs behavioral supports
  • Benefits from individualized task presentation

9. Click Add Student.

10. To start a test, please click on “Start a New Test.” You can then select the subtests of interest. When you are ready, select “Launch Test.”


Information about the use of each subtest:

ATLAS contains subtests of phonological awareness and alphabet knowledge:

  • PA:
    • Rhyming
    • Blending
    • Segmenting
  • Alphabet knowledge:
    • Letter Names
    • Letter Sounds

As of September 2022, alphabet knowledge subtests are being validated. Letter Names and Sounds items may have three picture options side by side (receptive, multiple-choice items). Or, they may have a single letter presented (expressive, yes-no items), then the assessor presses the green arrow and selects Yes or No to whether the child got the answer. The test then advances.

PA tests all present three picture options side by side, and a speaker reads a question followed by the names of each option. Children can tap or click before the options are all read aloud. They can select one of the three options themselves, or an assessor can help them pick their choice. The stimulus question repeats once, and if a child does not respond, the website automatically proceeds to the next item. After a subtest is completed, an animal GIF will appear moving on screen, to keep the child engaged and motivated. Then the interface returns to the classroom screen with all Child IDs for that class.

As each child takes a subtest, her results will appear using M-scores. The M-score is a rescaled score from 15 to 25, with a mean of 20 and standard deviation of 2. Scoring is based on Rasch item response theory, taking into account not only the child’s initial ability estimate but also the difficulty level of the items she took.

In order to compare a student’s score to other commonly used measures in the field, click on the Child’s ID. 

This will show you a description of how this student performed in comparison to at least one other measure of phonological awareness used in the field. No comparisons are provided for letter names or letter sounds at this time.

Users can also select the button Class Metrics in the lower left to view graphs of subtest results for all students in a class. On the Class Metrics page, at the bottom, users can adjust the date range by specifying the start and end dates to display test results of interest and visualize children’s progress over time.