Fall assessments- reading and comprehension - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 7 Old 09-03-2010, 03:38 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Last year dd was in 1st grade and started to have issues with "not liking" school. Her teacher complained at both the fall and spring conferences that dd rushes through her work. And dd admitted that she would rush through so she could "do what she wanted" which at that time was "independent reading and the Rubik cube puzzle". To be honest, that didn't sound too terrible to me. But I'd like her to have a more positive experience in 2nd grade.

I think her challenges stemmed from a combination of 1) a first-year teacher (she relied on a lot of worksheets), 2) a rough transition to more formal "seated" work compared with kindy, and 3) a somewhat inaccurate initial assessment of her abilities. I know the first 3-4 weeks of school were spent on assessments. At our fall conference, her teacher told us that dd's reading level was high but her comprehension lagged behind. For this reason, she was assigned to a middle-level reading group and stayed there all year. I didn't argue and she certainly did make steady progress in reading ability throughout the year. But she would also seek out the books that the upper reading groups were reading (from the library) and read them on her own.

I'd like to understand more about these fall assessments. What does a test of comprehension entail?? I know they were performed individually. dd hates to give a wrong answer and is nervous when put "on the spot". She can be slow to warm up to her teachers. I can easily imagine her saying "I don't know" instead of trying to answer oral questions about a reading passage. Is that how these assessments are conducted? She's been reading much more advanced books all summer (in the last 2 weeks, off the top of my head, she's read Harry Potter #1, Danny Champion of the World, Ramona Forever, and Stuart Little) and we do discuss them. I feel certain she's comprehending the material-- even if she sometimes doesn't know how to pronounce all the words.
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#2 of 7 Old 09-03-2010, 04:05 PM
 
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From info I have managed to piece together from the teachers and my daughter:

Assessments in our district are on non fiction.
The require reading out loud.
Fluency counts
Accuracy of pronunciation counts
They are asked to describe in their own words what the text was about, define a few words, and answer a few questions about the text.


It sounds like your daughter has likely made a lot of progress over the summer. If you want to prepare her for the assessment, you might consider having her read you a few passages of what she's reading, and focus on fluency and pronunciation of unfamiliar words. If she's resistant to answering when she's not certain, you can coach her to respond with "I'm not positive but, I think it's..." In the coming months/years, then you can move her along to answering without the cagey words as prefix (something that limits a lot of girls), but this is a good bridge for now.
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#3 of 7 Old 09-03-2010, 05:34 PM
 
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The assessment depends on the teacher and what they prefer to use. A fluency assessment is sometimes used to see how fast the child is reading. My dd did the same thing last year and I had to push the teacher to reassess her for reading, she never did get a good read on her for math. I wound up homeschooling her the last half of the year for other reasons, but she is in school again this year. I mentioned to the teacher that she doesn't do assessments well and my concern over that. I also told her about where I thought my dd was in math and reading based on what she can do at home so she has an idea of whether she is getting a reasonably accurate idea of my dd's abilities. Her teacher has been awesome and I think she is getting a good feel for what my dd can do. Many teachers will adjust where kids are frequently based on the skill they are doing and how quickly or slowly the kids master that skill. They also tend to give more challenging work to the kids who rush or touch base with them when they make mistakes and reteach so they can correct them rather then going on to playtime, especially if they know the child rushes and makes a lot of mistakes because of that.

If she is not able to pronounce the words they may pull her back and give her a different instructional level so she can learn to chunk the words accurately. Her independent reading level would stay the same. It really depends on the teacher. Learning how to chunk words becomes more important as kids go on in school and many schools tend to stop teaching this skill after third grade.
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#4 of 7 Old 09-03-2010, 07:17 PM
 
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Originally Posted by One_Girl View Post
Many teachers will adjust where kids are frequently based on the skill they are doing and how quickly or slowly the kids master that skill. They also tend to give more challenging work to the kids who rush...
This might be the ideal, but not our experience. Group placements changed very reluctantly upwards, and only after quarterly assessments and only if the child assesses several levels above the group they would move into. My DD went from pre-reading skills to reading at a second+ grade level in six weeks, and it took FOREVER (at least in the then 5 year old's world) to adjust.

We also have not had good success seeing significant differentiation.

I do think there is a lot of value to getting an accurate assessment, and having the ability to request a reassessment when things seem off. Both these require a very good and open relationship with the classroom teacher. In my experiences so far, teachers are quite reluctant to push kids beyond what they are *certain* the kid can do.
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#5 of 7 Old 09-03-2010, 09:18 PM
 
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I think it really depends on the school. Our school reassessed kids every 6 weeks and there was a lot of movement. They were very focused on targeting the instruction to the level of the child. Our son moved from middle reading group to the highest reading group in one year. (His middle was accurate at the time.)

I would talk to the teacher and explain that your daughter has performance anxiety, and so you're concerned that her initial assessment may not be accurate. See what they say.

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#6 of 7 Old 09-04-2010, 03:02 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by butterflies View Post
I'd like to understand more about these fall assessments. What does a test of comprehension entail?? I know they were performed individually.
I'd send the teacher a short email stating your concerns, sharing what your DD has been reading, and asking how she did. She may have done GREAT. Those are very solid books to be reading at the start of 2nd grade.

At our school last year, the test were computerized and the kids retook them occasionally. They were mainly used to show progress. Whether a child is reading above or below grade level, they should be improving.

but everything has pros and cons  shrug.gif

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#7 of 7 Old 09-05-2010, 11:41 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Thank you all! Its very helpful to see the range of experiences and approaches in different districts. Last year I didn't have much contact with dd's teacher until the fall conference (which is Nov for us). This time around, I want to make sure she gets off to a good start and I'll definitely be touching base with her teacher sooner.
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