Our Assessments - What's available to you?
So far, we know we must assess our students' literacy progress, incorporate differentiation into our assessments (as well as into our instruction), and what research says about literacy assessments. Now, let's have a look at what literacy assessments are readily available to use within our school district.
- STAR Reading Assessment: A very valuable assessment! This assessment measures reading comprehension, and tells each individual student's independent and instructional reading level. This is particularly useful in helping you decide what levels of reading material you should incorporate into your instruction. This is also very useful information to share with content area teachers - it may explain why 'Johnny', who is in 7th grade and reads independently at a 2nd grade level, cannot understand his textbook, which is written at or above the 7th grade level! This test is computer based, and can be given up to 10 times per school year.
- This is relatively new to our district. Next year will be the second year it is available. It is accessible through a link on my website, and through the Accelerated Reader link on our school's homepage. The test is short, generally taking students about 30 minutes to complete.
- Discovery Education Benchmarks: Also new this year, Discovery Education provides classroom teachers with another method of measuring student reading comprehension growth. This test does not adjust to meet or measure students' independent reading levels, but tests students according to what grade level they are in. It then compares student, class, group, or grade-level achievement to the 'norms', similar to the EOG comparisons.
- It is suggested that all classes administer this online test 4 times per school year. This assessment is also accessible through a link on our school's homepage, or by clicking below.
- Link: discoveryeducation.com
- easyCBM: Fluency is directly related to our students' literacy proficiency. To measure student fluency growth, easyCBM is available. This service is free through easyCBM.com, and provides teachers with various grade levels of passages that can be used to measure student growth. There are 9 measures in each grade level, and students can be entered, along with their fluency scores, to produce an attractive line graph that tracks progress.
- Link: easycbm.com
- QRI-5 (Qualitative Reading Inventory): The QRI-5 is not district wide, but is one method I use with my students to measure reading comprehension. This assessment is unique in that it reports independent, instructional, and frustration reading levels. It is simple to use, and really provides me with the specific area that students struggle with in terms of comprehension: background knowledge, implicit questions, explicit questions, recall, etc.
- For more information and to take a look at the QRI-5, stick around after the presentation and we will discuss it!
- Words Their Way: This assessment is also not district wide, but one that I use with my students. It measures student achievement in spelling. Words Their Way gives teachers an in-depth look at what specific spelling areas that students need support in. This assessment is pretty straightforward - it is a simple paper/pencil spelling test that can be taken by a whole class at once. Results of each student's spelling test are then examined, and small groups can be identified for differentiated instruction at various spelling stages. Students take additional spelling tests to monitor their progress and to drive instruction. This is an excellent resource that provides teachers with specific information to help student achievement in the area of spelling.
- For more information and to take a look at Words Their Way, stick around after the presentation and we will discuss it!
- Team Share: What do YOU use? What assessments would you like to know more about? Are there other assessments that you would like to investigate?