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Modules

 1.  Print awareness
 2.  The sounds of speech
 3.  Phonemic awareness
 4.  Phonics
 5.  Informal classroom-based assessment
 6.  Fluency
 7.  Vocabulary
 8.  Spelling
 9.  Writing
 10.  Text comprehension
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Diary of a First Year Teacher

Module 5  –  Informal classroom-based assessment

  |   Pre-test  |  Intro  |  In depth  |  In practice  |  Assignments  |  Post-test  |  

In depth

Video Clip

Assessing Reading Skills

At the Stern Center in Williston, Vermont, struggling students get a leg up on reading and other skills.

Examples of Informal Reading Assessments

Letter/Sound Recognition

What it measures:
Ability to recognize letters and sounds

Examples of assessment questions:
Show student one letter at a time and ask:

Can you tell me what letter this is?
(Record response)

Can you tell me what sound it makes?
(Record response)

Age or grade typically mastered:
Many students enter kindergarten with the ability to recognize letters. Fewer students recognize the letter sounds. Both are taught in kindergarten.

When should it be assessed?
Assess letter/sound recognition three times during kindergarten, at the start of school, at mid-year, and at the end of the year.

Concepts of Print Awareness

What it measures
If a student understands:

  • That print has meaning
  • That print can be used for different purposes
  • The relationship between print and speech
  • There is a difference between letters and words
  • That words are separated by spaces
  • There is a difference between words and sentences
  • That there are (punctuation) marks that signal the end of a sentence
  • That books have parts such as a front and back cover, title page, and spine
  • That stories have a beginning, middle, and end
  • That text is read from left to right and from top to bottom

Examples of assessment questions:
Give the student a book and ask the following questions:

Can you show me:

  • a letter?
  • a word?
  • a sentence?
  • the end of a sentence (punctuation mark)?
  • the front of the book?
  • the back of the book?
  • where I should start reading the story?
  • a space?
  • how I should hold the book?
  • the title of the book?
  • how many words are in this sentence?

Age or grade typically mastered:
Some students enter kindergarten with an understanding of print concepts, but other will master it as the school year goes on.

When should it be assessed?
Assess concepts of print twice during kindergarten, at the start of school and at mid-year. In addition, as you model story reading techniques to help guide instruction, identify students who need additional support, and determine if the pace of instruction should be increased, decreased, or remain the same.

Phonological Awareness Assessment

What it measures:

  1. Recognizing a word in a sentence shows the ability to segment a sentence
  2. Recognizing a rhyme shows the ability to identify words that have the same ending sounds
  3. Recognizing a syllable shows the ability to separate or blend words the way that they are pronounced
  4. Understanding onset-rime shows the ability to blend the first sound in the word (onset) and the rest of the word (rime)

Examples of assessment questions:

  • Word:
    How many words are in this sentence? "I am happy."
    (Correct response: 3)

  • Rhyme:
    Do these words rhyme? "Big, Fig"
    (Correct response: Yes)

    What about "Key, Tree?"
    (Correct response: Yes)

  • Syllable blending:
    I am going to say a word in parts. Listen: o pen What word did I say?
    (Correct response: open)

  • Syllable segmentation:
    Can you tell me the two word parts in "open?"
    (Correct response: o pen)

  • Syllable deletion:
    Say open without the -pen.
    (Correct response: o)

  • Onset-rime:
    What word do these sounds make? /s/ /ee/
    (Correct response: see)

    How about /h/ /op/?
    (Correct response: hop)

Age or grade typically mastered:

  • Word: Age 3
  • Rhyme: Age 4
  • Syllable blending: Age 4
  • Syllable segmentation: Kindergarten
  • Syllable deletion: Kindergarten
  • Onset-rime The middle of kindergarten

When should it be assessed?
Typically, phonological awareness is assessed during kindergarten and throughout first grade. During the beginning of kindergarten, assessment should be limited to recognizing words, rhyme, syllable blending, and segmentation to help guide instruction.

Phonemic Awareness Assessment

What it measures:

  1. Phoneme matching is the ability to identify words that begin with the same sound.
  2. Phoneme isolation is the ability to isolate a single sound from within a word.
  3. Phoneme blending is the ability to blend individual sounds into a word.
  4. Phoneme segmentation is the ability to break a word into individual sounds.
  5. Phoneme manipulation is the ability to modify, change, or move the individual sounds in a word.

Examples of assessment questions:

    * Remember, when a letter appears between slash marks, you should say the letter sound, and not the letter name. See Module 2: The sounds of speech to review the letter sounds.

  • Phoneme matching:
    Which words sound alike? man, sat, sip
    (Correct response: sat, sip)

  • Phoneme isolation Initial (first) sound:
    What's the first sound in sat?
    (Correct response: /s/)

  • Phoneme isolation Final (last) sound:
    What's the last sound in sat?
    (Correct response: /t/)

  • Phoneme isolation Medial (middle) sound:
    What's the middle sound in sat?
    (Correct response: /a/)

  • Phoneme blending:
    What word do these sounds make? /h/ /o/ /t/
    (Correct response: hot)

  • Phoneme segmentation:
    What sounds do you hear in hot?
    (Correct response: /h/ /o/ /t/)

  • Phoneme manipulation Initial (first) sound:
    Say mat without the /m/ sound.
    (Correct response: at)

  • Phoneme manipulation Final (last) sound:
    Say mat without the /t/ sound.
    (Correct response: ma)

  • Phoneme manipulation Substitution:
    Say pig.
    (Correct response: pig)

    Now change the /p/ in pig to /f/.
    (Correct response: fig)

Age or grade typically mastered:

  • Phoneme matching: The middle of kindergarten
  • Phoneme isolation Initial (first) sound: The middle of kindergarten
  • Phoneme isolation Final (last) sound: Late kindergarten or early first grade
  • Phoneme isolation Medial (middle) sound: Late kindergarten or early first grade
  • Phoneme blending: Late kindergarten or early first grade
  • Phoneme segmentation: First grade
  • Phoneme manipulation Initial (first) sound: First grade
  • Phoneme manipulation Final (last) sound: First grade
  • Phoneme manipulation Substitution: Middle to end of first grade or early second grade

When should it be assessed?
Phonemic awareness assessments should be done three times during the kindergarten and first grade years to help guide instruction.

Informal Reading Inventory (also known as Qualitative Reading Inventory)

What it measures:

  • Grade level reading
  • Fluency
  • Comprehension
  • Vocabulary
  • Oral reading accuracy

Examples of assessment questions:
Choose a grade level passage for the student to read. As the student is reading complete the Reading Accuracy and Reading Fluency assessments. After the student finishes the passage, check for understanding through explicit and implicit questions. Also, ask open-ended questions about the vocabulary found in the passage.

Age or grade typically mastered:
This assessment can be given to students in grades one through twelve. Students shoudl be expected to master age-appropriate material.

When should it be assessed?
The Informal Reading Inventory is an on-going assessment, and should be completed several times throughout the child's schooling. In kindergarten, perform the Informal Reading Inventory twice per year, at mid-year and at the end of school. In first and second grades, it should be done three times, at the beginning of the school year, at mid-year, and at the end of the year. If a child is struggling, the inventory should be done more often in order to have an accurate picture of the child's progress.

Reading Accuracy

What it measures:
Oral reading accuracy. It also provides the teacher with insight into a student's ability to use strategies to decode unfamiliar words.

Examples of assessment questions:
Choose a passage for the child to read aloud. As the child reads, take notes on words read correctly and incorrectly.

Age or grade typically mastered:
First through third grade.

When should it be assessed?
Reading accuracy assessments can be given as part of an Informal Reading Inventory or combined with a comprehension assessment to yield more information. Reading accuracy should be assessed several times throughout the year to help you plan on-going instruction. Are students reading on grade level? Do some students require additional support? Do your students have rich vocuabularies? Are your students able to read age-appropriate material?

Reading Fluency

What it measures:
How many words a child reads correctly in one minute.

Examples of assessment questions:
Choose an appropriate passage for the student to read aloud. As the student reads, complete a record for one minute.

Age or grade typically mastered:
Students should be expected to master age-appropriate material.

When should it be assessed?
Fluency assessments should be completed throughout the year to help guide instruction.

Word Recognition

What it measures:
Sight word vocabulary at a given grade level.

Examples of assessment questions:
Ask a child to read from a list of words.

Age or grade typically mastered:
Students should be expected to master age-appropriate material.

When should it be assessed?
Word recognition should be assessed three times during the year for students in kindergarten through second grade to help guide instruction.

Phonic Elements

What it measures:
Phonic elements at a given grade level.

Examples of assessment questions:
What sound do the letters 's' 'h' make?
(Correct response: /sh/)

How can I turn 'cap' into 'cape?'
(Correct response: Add an 'e' to the end of the word.

Age or grade typically mastered:
Students should be expected to master age-appropriate material.

When should it be assessed?
Phonic elemements should be assessed several times throughout the year in grades one through three to help guide instruction.



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First Year Teacher was a pilot project of Reading Rockets, which is service of WETA, Washington D.C.'s flagship public television station. Funding for First Year Teacher was provided by the U.S. Department of Education, Office of Special Education Programs; The Morris & Gwendolyn Cafritz Foundation; and The Overbrook Foundation.

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