Informal Assessment

Teacher doing informal reading assessment with elementary student

Administering informal assessments on a regular basis throughout the school year provides useful information that can help teachers to identify the individual strengths and weakness of each student — and most importantly, guide the next steps in instruction.

Most schools require four types of formal assessment:  screening tests, diagnostic tests,  progress monitoring tools, and summative tests. Formal assessment should guide major educational decisions about student and program success.  

In addition to formal assessments, teachers should use ongoing informal assessments to examine the critical components of learning to read, spell, and write and to plan their daily instruction.  These can be teacher-created or from your school’s core reading program.

Informal assessment information can help you decide the following:

What do I want to know about my students?

There are different informal assessment tools for assessing various components of reading. It’s important to ask yourself: “What do I want to know about my students? What do I want to assess?” These short articles can get you started:

Assessment chart

For easy access to all of this assessment information, just download and print the PDF handout: Overview of Informal Reading Assessments.

Featured Video: Informal Classroom-Based Assessment

"There is more treasure in books than in all the pirate's loot on Treasure Island." — Walt Disney