This week our book study went further into our guided reading book with a chapter over assessment and student grouping. This chapter offered so much to think about. Assessment is such an important part of our career. How can we effectively teach our kiddos if we don’t know what they know? As a second and third grade teacher, so often I just wanted to be left along so I could teach not test. There is such a fine line in what makes a good assessment. But, good sound assessment plays such an important part. It allows a teacher to deliver great instruction to her students that best meets their needs. This chapter really helped me evaluate the assessments I have used in the past and determine if they are effective in guiding my instruction.
· What do you use for your assessments: Letter Identification? Sight Words? Dictated Sentences? Writing Sample? Running Records?
My knowledge is coming from upper elementary (2nd/3rd) but I am also looking at how these assessments will help me next year in kindergarten. Our school uses a series of assessments for both reading and math that I feel are so effective. We use DIBELS as a fluency assessment. I love that this simple test gives such an accurate assessment of fluency. Three times a year, our CAMP (specials) teachers deliver the assessment to our entire school. In my individual classroom, I also use the DIBELS progress monitoring to determine student fluency. I personally enjoy administering the assessment because so much goes into a fluency assessment. Fluency is NOT just how many words per minute a child reads. It also includes their prosody and their intonation.
Our school also uses the STAR reading and STAR math assessment. This computer administered test gives teachers a picture of reading levels. My STAR reading reports help me find perfect fit books for students for both the instructional and independent text levels. Our library staff has labels every book in our library with a reading level so students can find perfect fit books easily (They are amazing!). When I send students to the library, I send their target card that states their reading level. This helps our library staff make sure that a students reading on a first grade level isn’t walking out of the library with Harry Potter.
This year, our school also uses the Saxon Phonics program for K-2. Each week, I assessed students with dictated sentences, phonics, sight word/high frequency words, and reading comprehension using this program.
· When you finish your assessments, how will you use that information to group your students?
This past year, I would use my data from my assessments to form my strategy groups. If I noticed that a student or group of students was struggling in fluency, I formed a group to help these students. If a few students struggled on our weekly assessments (for example my assessment on cause and effect), I would form a strategy group to help these students and then retest when I felt students had mastered the skill. I loved being able to show students how I was remediating students through my documentation. I also met with individual students to instruct. Each day, my goal was to meet with two strategy groups and 6-8 individual students. I completed this during my Daily 5 times.
· Will you use comprehension interviews? If not, then how will you check for understanding?
I haven’t used these in the past, but am very interested to learn more. How have other kindergarten teachers used these in their classrooms?
Effective assessment is paramount to being an effective educator. I would love to work with other educators to develop assessments that can be an effective evaluation tool to guide instruction.
So, it’s back to vacation. Today I took my kiddos to Dollywood! Tomorrow, I my son is dying for us to go to the aquarium. He loves fish!