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Basic Assessment Tools & Techniques

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1 Basic Assessment Tools & Techniques
A variety of basic assessment tools and techniques allows you to: Assess literacy in an ongoing, nonintrusive, productive, and nonthreatening manner Choose the tools that best suit your students, your setting, your materials, and your purpose for assessing Eight assessment tools: Observing Interest Inventories Attitude/Self-Concept checks Checklists Work Samples Conferences Self-Reflections Performance Assessments

2 Assessment Tool: Observing
Observing: Close watching of a student’s behavior while he or she is engaged in a particular activity or task. Probably the most powerful tool a teacher has. Purposes: To look at students as they perform normal, authentic literacy tasks To look at the products or results of those tasks To plan instruction Sometimes to determine students’ progress Procedures: If you don’t write it down, you will forget it Notes need to be specific or they will be of no use to you later Take observation notes on five or six students every day (but if a particular student is puzzling you, record several observations of that one student during a week) Ways to record observation notes: sticky notes, gummed address labels, index cards, computer, or your own method

3 Assessment Tool: Interest Inventories
Definition & Description Instruments designed to reveal a student’s interests, not only in school subjects but also in outside activities Often meant to assess attitudes For emergent readers and writers, the teacher may read items aloud and have the children mark pictures that indicate a scale More competent readers and writers can read the items themselves and respond on a scale or in writing Purposes: To determine each child’s interest To help plan instruction: to build your classroom library and also help steer children to appropriate sections in the media center or on the Internet. Procedures: Three procedures that are useful for children who are too young for a written interest inventory are: interview, collage, and all-about-me books. Don’t generalize about children’s interests. Model a wide range of interests that are not gender specific. Help children become interested in new things by sharing your own interests, reading aloud about a wide range of topics, and inviting children with unique interests to share.

4 Assessment Tool: Attitude/Self-Concept Checks
Definition & Description: Include those that you administer as well as students’ self-evaluations (ways children assess themselves in terms of attitude toward a given task and self-concept related to that task) Purposes: To learn about a child’s attitude toward himself or herself (the self-concept) To learn a child’s attitudes toward school, learning, and literacy To plan instruction Procedures: Be sure children understand the purpose of the assessment. Be sure there are clear ways for children to keep their places. Some children may not read well, and they may need arrows or symbols. Tell children not to mark until you have read each item twice. Then state how they are to respond. Read each item without inflection, expression, or any verbal or facial clue as to which response might please you. Children must feel free to respond honestly about their feelings, and to know there are no right or wrong answers/ Attitude/self-concept checks are only samples of how a child felt on a particular day.

5 Assessment Tool: Checklists
Definition & Description: A list of items with a place to check whether or not each behavior is present and perhaps to what degree. Purposes: To help you organize your observations or other information you collect about students’ performance on given characteristics or items To plan instruction To compare evidence of behavior over time and thus help you determine students’ progress Procedures: Published reading/language arts programs provide checklist; some schools develop checklists; some teachers prefer to make up their own checklists. Your choice of which checklists to use must be based on curricular decisions. Tell children that from time to time you may mark things on a list, and reassure them that this will help you do a better job as their teacher. Keep the list(s) handy. Have a place to file complete lists so you can use them for whatever purpose they were meant to serve. Checklists can be individual or whole-class. You may want to code checklists in some way to remind yourself about behaviors that may relate to the diversity of the students.

6 Assessment Tool: Work Samples
Definition & Description: Provide evidence of a child’s actual work in the classroom. May include everything from spelling tests to projects to published writing. Purposes: To look at students’ work that results from learning To plan instruction To compare the level or quality of work over time and thus help you determine students’ progress Procedures: Samples of work collected over a period of time can show a child’s growth and allow you, the child, and the family to see clear proof of the child’s progress from the beginning of the year. Look for ways to emphasize progress. Decide what kinds of samples you will collect. This will depend on your purpose. Many teachers collect work samples during the week and send them all home in a large envelope on Friday, along with a letter explaining what’s been going on. If you send a packet home weekly, ensure that the envelope is returned by having a place for responses and questions. Children should have some say about which samples are saved as “evidence.” All samples should be dated when collected.

7 Assessment Tool: Conferences
Definition & Description: A meeting between the teacher and an individual student to discuss some aspect of the student’s work. Purposes To provide time to have direct interaction with one student To zero in on specific items or points To clarify some particular point To plan instruction To determine students’ progress Procedures: The conference is short, about 5 to 10 minutes, and focused on gathering information about the child’s literacy status. Seven steps: 1) Explain the purpose and procedure to students. 2) Use a timer. 3) Have a chart of reminders for students. 4) Post a schedule each day. 5) Have a record sheet for each child. 6) Monitor yourself as you conduct assessment conferences. 7) End each conference on a positive note. Include all children in individual conferences, even a child who does not yet speak English.You might spend the time teaching each other the words for objects in the room or in pictures. Stay on task, despite children who might try to draw you off task. Resist the effort to coach the child to the “right answer.” Remember that a single conference is only a tiny piece of the whole picture.

8 Assessment Tool: Self-Reflections
Definition & Description: Self-reflection includes thinking about broad ideas such as “What have I learned?” and “How do I feel about myself as a reader and writer?” For our purposes, self-reflection includes both self-assessment and self-evaluation. Purposes To help you find out how students perceive their own work and how they have performed. Self-reflection should lead students to set their own goals and become more self-directed and independent learners. To give you insight into why a particular student feels he or she is having difficulty in a certain area To plan instruction Procedures: Use the following steps: 1) Model the process. 2) Begin with just one simple form. 3) Encourage oral self-reflection as part of literature discussions and conferences. 4) Ask children to file self-evaluations in their folders and bring them to conferences. Encourage appraisal that focuses on the work. Help students focus on something specific they can do to help themselves improve the quality of their work.

9 Assessment Tool: Performance Assessments
Definition & Description: Based on a particular task performed by the student. Involves authentic, real-world tasks that demonstrate a student’s literacy knowledge and skill. Summative or formative. Purposes: To see how well students apply what they are learning in real-world situations To determine students’ progress To plan instruction Procedures: Often part of ongoing instructional activities. Examples include posters, plays, oral/written reports, construction projects, and graphic support of scientific experiments. General criteria to follow in using any performance assessment: Identify the strategies, skills, and knowledge the task will demand Devise a task that requires the use of these strategies, skills, and knowledge Develop a rubric to evaluate the performance task Share the rubric with all students as the task begins Invite students to use the rubric to evaluate themselves independently

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