Free AIOU Solved Assignment Code 8637 Spring 2021

Free AIOU Solved Assignment Code 8637 Spring 2021

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Course: Reading Assessment (8637)
Semester: Spring, 2021
ASSIGNMENT No. 1

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Q.1   Explain the concept of reading comprehension. How are the different types of knowledge helpful in developing reading?

  1. a) Decoding

Decoding, in semiotics, is the process of interpreting a message sent by an addresser to an addressee. The complementary process – creating a message for transmission to an addressee – is called encoding.

All communication depends on the use of codes. When the message is received, the addressee is not passive, but decoding is more than simply recognising the content of the message. Over time, each individual in the audience develops a cognitive framework of codes which will recall the denotative meaning and suggest possible connotative meanings for each signifier. But the actual meaning for each message is context-dependent: the codified relations between the signifiers in the particular context must be interpreted according to the syntactic, semantic and social codes so that the most appropriate meaning is attributed (for labelling usages by reference to national characteristics, see Americanism).

Although the addresser may have a very clearly defined intention when encoding and wish to manipulate the audience into accepting the preferred meaning, the reality is not that of textual determinism. What is decoded does not follow inevitably from an interpretation of the message. Not infrequently, the addressees find different levels of meaning. Umberto Eco called this mismatch between the intended meaning and interpreted meaning aberrant decoding. This apparent failure of communication may result from the fact that the parties use different codes because they are of a different social class or because they have different training or ability, because they have different world views or ideologies, or because they are from different cultures.

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David Morley argues that the outcome of decoding will be influenced by pragmatic issues, i.e. whether:

  • the addressee has the ability to comprehend the message in its entirety;
  • the message is relevant to the addressee;
  • the addressee is enjoying the experience of receiving the message; and
  • the addressee accepts or rejects the addresser’s values.

Further, Umberto Eco suggests a distinction between closed texts which predispose a dominant interpretation and more open texts which may have latent meanings or be encoded in a way that encourages the possibility of alternative interpretations.

  1. b) Comprehension

Reading comprehension is the ability to process text, understand its meaning, and to integrate with what the reader already knows.[1][2] Fundamental skills required in efficient reading comprehension are knowing meaning of words, ability to understand meaning of a word from discourse context, ability to follow organization of passage and to identify antecedents and references in it, ability to draw inferences from a passage about its contents, ability to identify the main thought of a passage, ability to answer questions answered in a passage, ability to recognize the literary devices or propositional structures used in a passage and determine its tone, to understand the situational mood (agents, objects, temporal and spatial reference points, casual and intentional inflections, etc.) conveyed for assertions, questioning, commanding, refraining etc. and finally ability to determine writer’s purpose, intent and point of view, and draw inferences about the writer (discourse-semantics).[3][4]

Ability to comprehend text is influenced by readers’ skills and their ability to process information. If word recognition is difficult, students use too much of their processing capacity to read individual words, which interferes with their ability to comprehend what is read. There are many reading strategies to improve reading comprehension and inferences, including improving one’s vocabulary, critical text analysis (intertextuality, actual events vs. narration of events, etc.) and practicing deep reading.[5]

People learn comprehension skills through education or instruction and some learn by direct experiences.[6] Proficient reading depends on the ability to recognize words quickly and effortlessly.[7] It is also determined by an individual’s cognitive development, which is “the construction of thought processes”.

There are specific characteristics that determine how successfully an individual will comprehend text, including prior knowledge about the subject, well-developed language, and the ability to make inferences from methodical questioning & monitoring comprehension like: “Why is this important?” and “Do I need to read the entire text?” are examples of passage questioning.[8]

Instruction for comprehension strategy often involves initially aiding the students by social and imitation learning, wherein teachers explain genre styles and model both top-down and bottom-up strategies, and familiarize students with a required complexity of text comprehension.[9] After the contiguity interface, the second stage involves gradual release of responsibility wherein over time teachers give students individual responsibility for using the learned strategies independently with remedial instruction as required and this helps in error management. The final stage involves leading the students to a self-regulated learning state with more and more practice and assessment, it leads to overlearning and the learned skills will become reflexive or “second nature.”[10] The teacher as reading instructor is a role model of a reader for students, demonstrating what it means to be an effective reader and the rewards of being one.

Reading comprehension involves two levels of processing, shallow (low-level) processing and deep (high-level) processing. Deep processing involves semantic processing, which happens when we encode the meaning of a word and relate it to similar words. Shallow processing involves structural and phonemic recognition, the processing of sentence and word structure, i.e. first-order logic, and their associated sounds. This theory was first identified by Fergus I. M. Craik and Robert S. Lockhart.[15]

Comprehension levels are observed through neuroimaging techniques like functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI). fMRI’s are used to determine the specific neural pathways of activation across two conditions, narrative-level comprehension and sentence-level comprehension. Images showed that there was less brain region activation during sentence-level comprehension, suggesting a shared reliance with comprehension pathways. The scans also showed an enhanced temporal activation during narrative levels tests indicating this approach activates situation and spatial processing.[16] In general, neuroimaging studies have found that reading involves three overlapping neural systems: networks active in visual, orthography-phonology (Angular gyrus), and semantic functions (Anterior temporal lobe with Broca’s and Wernicke’s area). However, these neural networks are not discrete, meaning these areas have several other functions as well. The Broca’s area involved in executive functions helps the reader to vary depth of reading comprehension and textual engagement in accordance with reading goals.           

  1. Responding

Reader-response suggests that the role of the reader is essential to the meaning of a text, for only in the reading experience does the literary work come alive. For example, in Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley’s Frankenstein (1818), the monster doesn’t exist, so to speak, until the reader reads Frankenstein and reanimates it to life, becoming a co-creator of the text.

Thus, the purpose of a reading response is examining, explaining, and defending your personal reaction to a text.

Your critical reading of a text asks you to explore:

  • why you like or dislike the text;
  • explain whether you agree or disagree with the author;
  • identify the text’s purpose; and
  • critique the text.

There is no right or wrong answer to a reading response. Nonetheless, it is important that you demonstrate an understanding of the reading and clearly explain and support your reactions. Do not use the standard approach of just writing: “I liked this text because it is so cool and the ending made me feel happy,” or “I hated it because it was stupid, and had nothing at all to do with my life, and was too negative and boring.” In writing a response you may assume the reader has already read the text. Thus, do not summarize the contents of the text at length.  Instead, take a systematic, analytical approach to the text.

Write as a Scholar

When writing a reader-response write as an educated adult addressing other adults or fellow scholars.  As a beginning scholar, if you write that something has nothing to do with you or does not pass your “Who cares?” test, but many other people think that it is important and great, readers will probably not agree with you that the text is dull or boring.  Instead, they may conclude that you are dull and boring, that you are too immature or uneducated to understand what important things the author wrote.

Criticize with Examples

If you did not like a text, that is fine, but criticize it either from:

  • principle, for example:
    • Is the text racist?
    • Does the text unreasonably puts down things, such as religion, or groups of people, such as women or adolescents, conservatives or democrats, etc?
    • Does the text include factual errors or outright lies? It is too dark and despairing? Is it falsely positive?
  • form, for example:
    • Is the text poorly written?
    • Does it contain too much verbal “fat”?
    • Is it too emotional or too childish?
    • Does it have too many facts and figures?
    • Are there typos or other errors in the text?
    • Do the ideas wander around without making a point?

In each of these cases, do not simply criticize, but give examples. As a beginning scholar, be cautious of criticizing any text as “confusing” or “crazy,” since readers might simply conclude that you are too ignorant or slow to understand and appreciate it.

The Structure of a Reader-Response Essay

Choosing a text to study is the first step in writing a reader-response essay. Once you have chosen the text, your challenge is to connect with it and have a “conversation” with the text.

In the beginning paragraph of your reader-response essay, be sure to mention the following:

  • title of the work to which you are responding;
  • the author; and
  • the main thesis of the text.

Then, do your best to answer the questions below. Remember, however, that you are writing an essay, not filling out a short-answer worksheet. You do not need to work through these questions in order, one by one, in your essay. Rather, your paper as a whole should be sure to address these questions in some way.

  • What does the text have to do with you, personally, and with your life (past, present or future)?It is not acceptable to write that the text has NOTHING to do with you, since just about everything humans can write has to do in some way with every other human.
  • How much does the text agree or clash with your view of the world, and what you consider right and wrong?Use several quotes as examples of how it agrees with and supports what you think about the world, about right and wrong, and about what you think it is to be human.   Use quotes and examples to discuss how the text disagrees with what you think about the world and about right and wrong.
  • What did you learn, and how much were your views and opinions challenged or changed by this text, if at all?Did the text communicate with you? Why or why not?  Give examples of how your views might have changed or been strengthened (or perhaps, of why the text failed to convince you, the way it is). Please do not write “I agree with everything the author wrote,” since everybody disagrees about something, even if it is a tiny point. Use quotes to illustrate your points of challenge, or where you were persuaded, or where it left you cold.
  • How well does the text address things that you, personally, care about and consider important to the world?How does it address things that are important to your family, your community, your ethnic group, to people of your economic or social class or background, or your faith tradition?  If not, who does or did the text serve? Did it pass the “Who cares?” test?  Use quotes from the text to illustrate.
  • What can you praise about the text?What problems did you have with it? Reading and writing “critically” does not mean the same thing as “criticizing,” in everyday language (complaining or griping, fault-finding, nit-picking). Your “critique” can and should be positive and praise the text if possible, as well as pointing out problems, disagreements and shortcomings.
  • How well did you enjoy the text (or not) as entertainment or as a work of art? Use quotes or examples to illustrate the quality of the text as art or entertainment. Of course, be aware that some texts are not meant to be entertainment or art: a news report or textbook, for instance, may be neither entertaining or artistic, but may still be important and successful.

For the conclusion, you might want to discuss:

  • your overall reaction to the text;
  • whether you would read something else like this in the future;
  • whether you would read something else by this author; and
  • if would you recommend read this text to someone else and why.
  1. Analyzing

To analyze means to break something down into its parts and examine them. Analyzing is a vital skill for successful readers. Analyzing a text involves breaking down its ideas and structure to understand it better, think critically about it, and draw conclusions. This unit covers different strategies for analyzing print and digital media, as well as how to create graphic organizers to help you analyze what you read. Click on one of the areas below to learn more.

  • Writing Patterns:Learn how to identify the patterns used by writers to organize their ideas. This will help you anticipate how a text will develop an idea and improve your own writing.
  • Evaluating an Author’s Intent:Learn how to evaluate an author’s intent by reading critically to discern point of view, purpose, intended audience, and tone.
  • Evaluating an Argument:Learn how to evaluate the arguments you come across as you read in order to uncover biases and logical fallacies.
  • Evaluating a Website:Learn how to evaluate websites for reliability, accuracy, and relevance.
  • Creating a Timeline:Learn how to create a timeline to organize and remember the information you gather from the texts you read.
  • Creating an Outline:Learn how to make an outline of what you read so that you can understand how ideas are organized and related in the text.
  • Creating a Concept Map:Learn how to create a concept map to visualize the main ideas in a text.
  • Creating a Story Map:Learn how to make a story map to improve your understanding of narrative-based texts like novels, short stories, and histories.

AIOU Solved Assignment 1 Code 8637 Spring 2021

Q.2   Briefly explain the hierarchy of reading components. How are these components integrated with one another?  

As children learn to read they must develop skills in all five of these areas in order to become successful readers.

Phonics

Phonics is the connection between sounds and letter symbols. It is also the combination of these sound-symbol connections to create words. Without phonics, words are simply a bunch of squiggles and lines on a page. If you think about it, letters are arbitrary. There is nothing innately bed-like about the written word “bed”. It is simply the collection of letters and corresponding sounds that we agree constitute the word “bed”. Learning to make that connection between the individual sounds that each letter represents and then putting those together is essential to understanding what that funny squiggle means.

There are a number of ways that phonics can be taught because there is a variety of ways to apply this aspect when reading. Each approach allows the reader to use phonics to read and learn new words in a different way. Synthetic phonics builds words from the ground up. In this approach readers are taught to first connect letters to their corresponding phonemes (sound units) and then to blend those together to create a word. Analytic phonics, on the other hand, approaches words from the top down. A word is identified as a whole unit and then its letter-sound connections are parsed out. Analogy phonics uses familiar parts of words to discover new words. Finally, phonics through spelling focuses on connecting sounds with letters in writing. All of these approaches can be taught and used independently or in combination to help young readers learn to identify new words.

Phonemic Awareness

Phonemic awareness is closely related to phonics because both involve the connection between sounds and words. While phonics is the connection between sounds and letters, phonemic awareness is the understanding that words are created from phonemes (small units of sound in language). These may seem like the same thing, but there is a subtle difference in the two. Phonics is used only in written language because it involves letters. Phonemes are sounds only. While they can be represented using letters, they can also be simply the auditory sounds of words. Phonemes are most often learned before a child begins to read because they are centered on the sounds of language rather than written words.

Just like phonics, phonemic awareness can be taught and used in a number of ways. Phoneme isolation involves the reader parsing out the individual sounds in a word in order to determine its meaning. Similarly, phoneme segmentation asks the reader to break words into their corresponding phonemes (which may involve one or more individual sounds) to figure out the new word. Both of these approaches are very similar to synthetic phonics. Phoneme identification relies on the reader’s general knowledge of phonemes (usually developed through speaking) to identify sound patterns in words. For example a reader would identify the phoneme /d/ he knows from the words “dog” and “dad” to help him learn how to read a new word “doctor”. Finally, phoneme blending requires the reader to connect a series of phonemes together to create a word. This strategy is always used in conjunction with one of the others.

Vocabulary

In order to read words we must first know them. Imagine how frustrating and fruitless it would be to read this article if all of the words were unfamiliar to you. As children become stronger, more advanced readers they not only learn to connect their oral vocabularies (the words we know when they are spoken) to their reading vocabularies (the words we know when they are used in print) they also strengthen each of these areas by adding new words to their repertoires. Vocabulary development is an ongoing process that continues throughout one’s “reading life”.

There are two primary ways of teaching and learning new vocabulary words. The first is explicit instruction. This involves someone telling you how a word is pronounced and what its meaning is. That “someone” might be a teacher, a dictionary, a vocabulary guide or any other resource offering definitions and pronunciations. Context clues provide another method for discovering new words. Context clues are the “hints” contained in a text that help a reader figure out the meaning of an unfamiliar word. They include other words in a sentence or paragraph, text features (ie. bold print, italics), illustrations, graphs and charts. Context clues are basically any item in the text that points to the definition of a new word.

Fluency

Fluency is a reader’s ability to read with speed, accuracy and expression. Thus it requires him to combine and use multiple reading skills at the same time. While fluency is most often measured through oral readings, good readers also exhibit this skill when they are reading silently. Think about the way a book “sounds” in your mind when you are reading silently. You “hear” the characters “speak” with expression. Even passages that are not written in dialogue “sound” as if the words fit the meaning. A particularly suspenseful action sequence moves quickly through your mind creating a palpable sense of tension. Your ability to move through a piece of text at a fluid pace while evoking the meaning and feeling of it demonstrates your fluency.

Fluency is intimately tied to comprehension. A reader must be able to move quickly enough through a text to develop meaning. If he is bogged down reading each individual word, he is not able to create an overall picture in his mind of what the text is saying. Even if the reader is able to move rapidly through a text, if she cannot master the expression associated with the words, the meaning of it will be lost.

Reading Comprehension

Comprehension is what most people think reading is. This is because comprehension is the main reason why we read. It is the aspect of reading that all of the others serve to create. Reading comprehension is understanding what a text is all about. It is more than just understanding words in isolation. It is putting them together and using prior knowledge to develop meaning.

Reading comprehension is the most complex aspect of reading. It not only involves all of the other four aspects of reading, it also requires the reader to draw upon general thinking skills. When a reader is actively engaged with a text, she is asking and answering questions about the story and summarizing what she has read. Like vocabulary, reading comprehension skills develop and improve over time through instruction and practice.

AIOU Solved Assignment 2 Code 8637 Spring 2021

Q.3   Explain the scope of learning assessed by the screening test at different grades. Describe some of its purposes. 


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Imagine being a teacher in a new classroom. You begin teaching a lesson only to be met with stares of confusion from your students. When you ask the students if they understand what you are teaching, they reply that they have no idea what you’re talking about. Now imagine teaching that same class after conducting a pretest to determine what the students already know about the topic. Which scenario sounds preferable? Which would result in a better experience for both the teacher and the students?

Screening assessment is a form of pre-assessment that allows a teacher to determine students’ individual strengths, weaknesses, knowledge, and skills prior to instruction. It is primarily used to diagnose student difficulties and to guide lesson and curriculum planning.

As you may have surmised, Screening assessment benefits both the instructor and the students. First, it allows teachers to plan meaningful and efficient instruction. When a teacher knows exactly what students know or don’t know about a topic, she can focus lessons on the topics students still need to learn about rather than what they already know. This cuts down on student frustration and boredom.

Second, it provides information to individualize instruction. It may show a teacher that a small group of students needs additional instruction on a particular portion of a unit or course of study. He can then provide remediation for those students so that they can fully engage with new content. Similarly, if a teacher discovers that a group of students has already mastered a large portion of a unit of study, he can design activities that allow that group to go beyond the standard curriculum for that topic through independent or small group study.

Finally, it creates a baseline for assessing future learning. It shows both the teacher and the students what is known before instruction has occurred. Thus, it sets a baseline on a topic. As the students move through instruction, they can see what they are or aren’t learning, and the teacher can provide remediation or enrichment as needed.

Examples of Screening Assessments

Screening assessments can come in many different forms. A couple of common uses of this tool include unit pretests and Screening assessments prior to individual instruction.

One of the simplest and most powerful classroom-level uses of Screening assessment is the unit pretest, which occurs prior to instruction on a particular unit of study to gather information about what students know about the topic. When giving a unit pretest, be sure to focus on the core concepts and skills that you expect students to know and be able to demonstrate at the end of the unit. Many textbooks and curriculum sets have pretests you can use or adapt.

Screening assessments are used to assess specific skills or components of reading such as phonemic awareness, phonics skills, and fluency. The results of Screening assessments inform instruction and intervention. Screening assessments can be formal standardized tests of children’s component reading and language abilities or informal measures such as criterion-referenced tests and informal reading inventories. Not all children need this kind of in-depth reading assessment, which is most important for struggling and at-risk readers.

  1. Norm-referenced assessmentsare formal assessments, often used as Screening tools. The score compares the student’s skills to a defined population used in standardizing the test (i.e., how did this student perform on these tasks compared to other students in the same grade or age range). Examples of these tests include the Woodcock-Johnson Tests of Achievement and the Wechsler Individual Achievement Test. Typically these kinds of tests should not be administered more than once a year.
  2. Criterion-referenced assessments are both formal and informal assessments, and are also used as Screening tools. The score compares the student’s skills to a defined set of skills and a goal (criterion) for mastery. These assessments are administered before instruction and after instruction to measure a student’s skill growth. An example of this type of test is the Core Phonics Survey. Usually these kinds of tests can be administered more than once a year.

AIOU Solved Assignment Code 8637 Spring 2021

Q.4   How does reading assessment plan support reading teacher?                    

Reading assessment is an essential element of education used to inform instruction (Wren, 2004). The first step in implementing good reading instruction is to determine student baseline performance. Students enter the classroom with diverse backgrounds and skills in literacy. Some students may enter the classroom with special needs that require review of basic skills in reading, while other students may have mastered the content a teacher intends to cover. Due to these various student levels, it is necessary to design literacy instruction to meet the individual needs of each student. Individual needs can be determined by initial and ongoing reading Reading assessments.

These Reading assessments provide teachers with the information needed to develop appropriate lessons and improve instruction for all students, including students with disabilities (Rhodes & Shanklin, 1993). The information gained from appropriate assessment enables teachers to provide exceptional students with improved access to the general education curriculum. The following information is an overview of the purpose and benefits of early reading Reading assessment, examples of data collection methods, and considerations for selecting a measure for students.

The purpose and benefits of Reading assessment

Research provides evidence that specific early literacy concepts can predict young students’ later reading achievement (DeBruinParecki, 2004). These reading concepts include letter knowledge, phonemic awareness, decoding, fluency, and comprehension. An effective reading program includes Reading assessments of all of these concepts for several purposes.

One purpose is to identify skills that need review. Reading assessment provides teachers with information on what skills students have and have not mastered. It is needed to help teachers know the skill levels of their students, since students have varying experiences and knowledge.

A second purpose is to monitor student progress. A teacher can learn which students need review before covering additional content and which students are ready to move forward.

A third purpose is to guide teacher instruction. Through consistent assessment, a teacher can make informed decisions about what instruction is appropriate for each student.

A fourth purpose is to demonstrate the effectiveness of instruction. The information gained from assessment allows teachers to know if all students are mastering the content covered. It is important for teachers to use instructional time effectively, and this can be done when teachers are knowledgeable about what their students are ready to learn and what they already know. Therefore, the information gained from assessment allows a teacher to create appropriate instruction for their students.

Additionally, a fifth purpose of assessment is to provide teachers with information on how instruction can be improved.

Reading assessment examples for specific areas of reading

There are various ways to gather Reading assessment data (Rhodes & Shanklin, 1993). Teachers can test students, analyze student work samples, observe students performing literacy tasks, or interview students on their reading skills. Teachers can gain the most information by administering all of these methods to collect data. The following information describes various types of Reading assessments for different areas of early reading. Each Reading assessment identified is described in the resources section of this brief.

Letter knowledge: the ability to associate sounds with letters

One example of an assessment for letter knowledge is to present a student with a list of letters and ask the student to name each letter. Another example is to have a student separate the letters from a pile of letters, numbers, and symbols. Students can also be asked to separate and categorize letters by uppercase and lowercase (Torgesen, 1998; Wren, 2004).

The following list is a sample of assessment measures to test letter knowledge skills:

  • Dynamic Indicators of Basic Early Literacy Skills (DIBELS)
  • Early Reading Diagnostic Assessment (ERDA)

Phonemic awareness: the ability to hear and manipulate sounds in words

These Reading assessments examine a student’s knowledge of how sounds make words. A student can be asked to break spoken words into parts, or to blend spoken parts of a word into one word. Additionally, a student can count the number of phonemes in a word to demonstrate understanding, or a student can delete or add a phoneme to make a new word (Torgesen, 1998; Wren, 2004).

The following list is a sample of assessment measures to test phonemic awareness skills:

  • Comprehensive Test of Phonological Processing (CTOPP)
  • DIBELS
  • ERDA
  • Iowa Test of Basic Skills (ITBS)
  • Phonological Awareness Test (PAT)
  • Texas Primary Reading Inventory (TPRI)

Emerging practice

The theory of multiple intelligences is one that many educators support and believe to be effective. Dr. Gardner developed this theory in 1983, and he suggests that eight different intelligences account for student potential (Armstrong, 1994; Gardner, 1983). They include:

  1. linguistic intelligence
  2. logical mathematical intelligence
  3. visual spatial intelligence
  4. bodily kinesthetic intelligence
  5. musical intelligence
  6. interpersonal intelligence
  7. intrapersonal intelligence
  8. naturalist intelligence

Dr. Gardner believes these intelligences should be used to assess students’ strengths and weaknesses and teachers should develop Reading assessments that allow students to demonstrate these intelligences. Although support can be found in some schools for this theory, it is not supported by rigorous research evidence at this time. Therefore, the Access Center considers the theory of multiple intelligences to be an emerging practice that requires further investigation.

AIOU Solved Assignment Code 8637 Autumn 2021

Q.5   How is formative reading assessment helpful for reading teacher and teacher and student?     

Assessment is an essential element of education used to inform instruction (Wren, 2004). The first step in implementing good reading instruction is to determine student baseline performance. Students enter the classroom with diverse backgrounds and skills in literacy. Some students may enter the classroom with special needs that require review of basic skills in reading, while other students may have mastered the content a teacher intends to cover. Due to these various student levels, it is necessary to design literacy instruction to meet the individual needs of each student. Individual needs can be determined by initial and ongoing reading assessments.

These assessments provide teachers with the information needed to develop appropriate lessons and improve instruction for all students, including students with disabilities (Rhodes & Shanklin, 1993). The information gained from appropriate assessment enables teachers to provide exceptional students with improved access to the general education curriculum. The following information is an overview of the purpose and benefits of early reading assessment, examples of data collection methods, and considerations for selecting a measure for students.

Research provides evidence that specific early literacy concepts can predict young students’ later reading achievement (DeBruinParecki, 2004). These reading concepts include letter knowledge, phonemic awareness, decoding, fluency, and comprehension. An effective reading program includes assessments of all of these concepts for several purposes.

One purpose is to identify skills that need review. Assessment provides teachers with information on what skills students have and have not mastered. It is needed to help teachers know the skill levels of their students, since students have varying experiences and knowledge.

A second purpose is to monitor student progress. A teacher can learn which students need review before covering additional content and which students are ready to move forward.

A third purpose is to guide teacher instruction. Through consistent assessment, a teacher can make informed decisions about what instruction is appropriate for each student.

A fourth purpose is to demonstrate the effectiveness of instruction. The information gained from assessment allows teachers to know if all students are mastering the content covered. It is important for teachers to use instructional time effectively, and this can be done when teachers are knowledgeable about what their students are ready to learn and what they already know. Therefore, the information gained from assessment allows a teacher to create appropriate instruction for their students.

Additionally, a fifth purpose of assessment is to provide teachers with information on how instruction can be improved.

There are various ways to gather assessment data (Rhodes & Shanklin, 1993). Teachers can test students, analyze student work samples, observe students performing literacy tasks, or interview students on their reading skills. Teachers can gain the most information by administering all of these methods to collect data. The following information describes various types of assessments for different areas of early reading. Each assessment identified is described in the resources section of this brief.

Letter knowledge: the ability to associate sounds with letters

One example of an assessment for letter knowledge is to present a student with a list of letters and ask the student to name each letter. Another example is to have a student separate the letters from a pile of letters, numbers, and symbols. Students can also be asked to separate and categorize letters by uppercase and lowercase (Torgesen, 1998; Wren, 2004).

The following list is a sample of assessment measures to test letter knowledge skills:

  • Dynamic Indicators of Basic Early Literacy Skills (DIBELS)
  • Early Reading Diagnostic Assessment (ERDA)

Phonemic awareness: the ability to hear and manipulate sounds in words

These assessments examine a student’s knowledge of how sounds make words. A student can be asked to break spoken words into parts, or to blend spoken parts of a word into one word. Additionally, a student can count the number of phonemes in a word to demonstrate understanding, or a student can delete or add a phoneme to make a new word (Torgesen, 1998; Wren, 2004).

The following list is a sample of assessment measures to test phonemic awareness skills:

  • Comprehensive Test of Phonological Processing (CTOPP)
  • DIBELS
  • ERDA
  • Iowa Test of Basic Skills (ITBS)
  • Phonological Awareness Test (PAT)
  • Texas Primary Reading Inventory (TPRI)

Due to the diversity among children, every assessment will not be appropriate for all students. Some measures for collecting data are more appropriate for a specific age level, skill level, or culture, and teachers often find it beneficial to use multiple assessments when gathering information on student performance (Wren, 2004). It is important for teachers to have training in the strategies they use and feel comfortable with their implementation. Additionally, teachers should use strategies that are supported by research evidence and that will give them useful information about their students. A teacher can gain the most information from gathering information through both formaland informal assessments.

Different measures provide distinct information. Therefore, teachers need to implement assessments that will provide information about the skills their students have on the content and strategies they are teaching. Students with disabilities who are receiving special education services have an Individualized Education Program (IEP).

The IEP will contain documentation on measures that have been performed and the information they provided. Reviewing this information will help teachers determine what assessments are needed to supplement the measures that have been administered. Most important, assessment must be instructionally relevant and focused on essential skills. Therefore, assessments should always be culturally and linguistically appropriate.

7 APPROACHES TO FORMATIVE ASSESSMENT

  1. Entry and exit slips:Those marginal minutes at the beginning and end of class can provide some great opportunities to find out what kids remember. Start the class off with a quick question about the previous day’s work while students are getting settled—you can ask differentiated questions written out on chart paperor projected on the board, for example.

Exit slips can take lots of forms beyond the old-school pencil and scrap paper. Whether you’re assessing at the bottom of Bloom’s taxonomy or the top, you can use tools like Padlet or Poll Everywhere, or measure progress toward attainment or retention of essential content or standards with tools like Google Classroom’s Question tool, Google Forms with Flubaroo, and Edulastic, all of which make seeing what students know a snap.

A quick way to see the big picture if you use paper exit tickets is to sort the papers into three piles: Students got the point; they sort of got it; and they didn’t get it. The size of the stacks is your clue about what to do next.

No matter the tool, the key to keeping students engaged in the process of just-walked-in or almost-out-the-door formative assessment is the questions. Ask students to write for one minute on the most meaningful thing they learned. You can try prompts like:

  • What are three things you learned, two things you’re still curious about, and one thing you don’t understand?
  • How would you have done things differently today, if you had the choice?
  • What I found interesting about this work was…
  • Right now I’m feeling…
  • Today was hard because…

Or skip the words completely and have students draw or circle emojis to represent their assessment of their understanding.

  1. Low-stakes quizzes and polls:If you want to find out whether your students really know as much as you think they know, polls and quizzes created with Socrativeor Quizlet or in-class games and tools like Quizalize, Kahoot, FlipQuiz, Gimkit, Plickers, and Flippity can help you get a better sense of how much they really understand. (Grading quizzes but assigning low point values is a great way to make sure students really try: The quizzes matter, but an individual low score can’t kill a student’s grade.) Kids in many classes are always logged in to these tools, so formative assessments can be done very quickly. Teachers can see each kid’s response, and determine both individually and in aggregate how students are doing.

Because you can design the questions yourself, you determine the level of complexity. Ask questions at the bottom of Bloom’s taxonomy and you’ll get insight into what facts, vocabulary terms, or processes kids remember. Ask more complicated questions (“What advice do you think Katniss Everdeen would offer Scout Finch if the two of them were talking at the end of chapter 3?”), and you’ll get more sophisticated insights.

  1. Dipsticks:So-called alternative formative assessments are meant to be as easy and quick as checking the oil in your car, so they’re sometimes referred to as dipsticks. These can be things like asking students to:
  • write a letter explaining a key idea to a friend,
  • draw a sketch to visually represent new knowledge, or
  • do a think, pair, share exercise with a partner.

Your own observations of students at work in class can provide valuable data as well, but they can be tricky to keep track of. Taking quick notes on a tablet or smartphone, or using a copy of your roster, is one approach. A focused observation form is more formal and can help you narrow your note-taking focus as you watch students work.

  1. Interview assessments:If you want to dig a little deeper into students’ understanding of content, try discussion-based assessment methods. Casual chats with studentsin the classroom can help them feel at ease even as you get a sense of what they know, and you may find that five-minute interview assessments work really well. Five minutes per student would take quite a bit of time, but you don’t have to talk to every student about every project or lesson.

You can also shift some of this work to students using a peer-feedback process called TAG feedback (Tell your peer something they did well, Ask a thoughtful question, Give a positive suggestion). When you have students share the feedback they have for a peer, you gain insight into both students’ learning.

For more introverted students—or for more private assessments—use Flipgrid, Explain Everything, or Seesaw to have students record their answers to prompts and demonstrate what they can do.

  1. Methods that incorporate art:Consider using visual artor photography or videography as an assessment tool. Whether students draw, create a collage, or sculpt, you may find that the assessment helps them synthesize their learning. Or think beyond the visual and have kids act out their understanding of the content. They can create a dance to model cell mitosis or act out stories like Ernest Hemingway’s “Hills Like White Elephants” to explore the subtext.
  2. Misconceptions and errors:Sometimes it’s helpful to see if students understand why something is incorrect or why a concept is hard. Ask students to explain the “muddiest point” in the lesson—the place where things got confusing or particularly difficult or where they still lack clarity. Or do a misconception check: Present students with a common misunderstanding and ask them to apply previous knowledge to correct the mistake, or ask them to decide if a statement contains any mistakes at all, and then discuss their answers.
  3. Self-assessment:Don’t forget to consult the experts—the kids. Often you can give your rubric to your studentsand have them spot their strengths and weaknesses.

You can use sticky notes to get a quick insight into what areas your kids think they need to work on. Ask them to pick their own trouble spot from three or four areas where you think the class as a whole needs work, and write those areas in separate columns on a whiteboard. Have you students answer on a sticky note and then put the note in the correct column—you can see the results at a glance.

Several self-assessments let the teacher see what every kid thinks very quickly. For example, you can use colored stacking cups that allow kids to flag that they’re all set (green cup), working through some confusion (yellow), or really confused and in need of help (red).

 

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