Assessment & Evaluation
Testing, evaluation, assessment — they're all such a big part of today's educational climate. Articles in this section cover issues such as how to help your child do well on tests and what you should consider if you're thinking about having your child tested.
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The developmental nature of reading means that diagnosing the reading comprehension ability of adolescents is more challenging than diagnosing reading comprehension among third graders. In particular, assessments should not only capture the increased sophistication of the reading task in the middle and high school years, but should also capture the specialization of the many tasks that comprise reading comprehension for older readers. Educators must think carefully not only about what the assessments they use consider "grade-level" text, but also how those assessments capture or fail to capture the processes involved in reading in different content-area classes.
There are a number of current informal reading inventories — each has its strengths, limitations, and unique characteristics, which should be considered in order to best fit a teacher's needs.
Literacy process interviews are informal assessments designed to gauge how readers and writers think about their work as they are engaged in it. Participants’ responses aren't scored, but are used to guide program educators as they teach different literacy skills and strategies.
All written work should be assessed using a rubric. Using a set of criteria linked to standards not only allows for uniform evaluation, but helps students understand what is important about an assignment and encourages them to reflect on their work.
A Brown Bag Exam uses found objects and images to help students activate prior knowledge and creates a framework for students to express their understanding. Students work individually and in collaboration to create concrete connections between the reading and the Brown Bag items. Unlike traditional assessment, the Brown Bag Exam is an exam filled with conversation, idea exchange, and learning.
Students must pass a high stakes tests to graduate high school. These tests are a major barrier for students with learning disabilities who often do not test well. Accommodations can help. Learn how to help children with learning disabilities do well on these tests.
Standardized testing is one form of assessment used in schools. Find out about standardized tests, how and why schools use them, and how you can support your child.
Is your school planning to implement student progress monitoring (SPM)? Are you thinking of using it in your classroom? If so, consider a number of factors to make SPM an integral part of classroom activities, rather than a series of isolated assessments unconnected to other parts of the learning experience. This brief offers some suggestions on how to use SPM in an integrated way.
Literacy practices interviews are informal assessments that elicit information on students' reading and writing activities, including their free-time reading habits, their access to books, and their attitudes toward reading and writing. Use the interviews in one-on-one or small, focus group-like settings.
Take the lead to improve literacy for all students at your school. Implement regular school-wide monitoring of assessment results and student progress.
Progress monitoring is an assessment technique that tells teachers how and when to adjust curriculum so that students meet benchmark goals by the end of the year. This research shows that progress monitoring is an effective way to set and meet academic goals.