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Old 10-18-2010, 11:45 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Ds is in 1st grade. He is a strong reader. He worked his way through 2nd grade leveled readers over the summer, and appears (by my non-computerized, observational assessment) to be reading at the beginning 3rd grade level. (I am a Speech-Language Pathologist by profession, so I have some knowledge in reading assessment and observational assessment.) Anyway, he brought home a paper indicating his Lexile score being at the beginning 2nd grade level with a list of books in a range from 1st to early-/mid-2nd that we could read at home.

I know he is solid in reading. I don't want to sound pushy or arrogant regarding him, but I feel like there is something wrong in this assessment, and I am not sure whether I should say something. He has never been one to "show" what he knows, whether it's due to possible perfectionism, performance anxiety, or related to his Sensory Integration issues. I know that teachers rely heavily on formal assessments, and I'm sure human experience, knowledge, and observation does not trump a computer in the eyes of the school. I do want him to be learning and progressing in school, though - that's the reason I send him.

Would you say something to the teacher? Or would you just accept where the computer has placed him since it's not radically discrepant?
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Old 10-19-2010, 12:11 AM
 
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Or would you just accept where the computer has placed him since it's not radically discrepant?
I would talk to the teacher. I'd ask what was this based on. Is there a specific skill that is causing this score? Could it be a difference in his comprehension vs his decoding skills? etc. Could there be an issue with him and the way the test was done?

I would share my observations with the teacher.

I would ask if the book suggestions were just suggestions, or if she really cares exactly what he's reading as along as he is reading for pleasure.

I would try to figure out if the reading score mattered, and if it does, then I would ask that it be rested. If it doesn't really matter I wouldn't care if it was off.

My kids' teachers seem to prefer email to phone calls.

but everything has pros and cons  shrug.gif

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Old 10-19-2010, 01:40 AM
 
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Different reading tests weigh types of reading skills differently. Some favor fluency, some overall comprehension, some word-for-word accuracy, etc. I'd find out which test was given. It could be that, in some ways, your son is reading at a much higher level in some ways, but is relatively weaker (though still above grade level) at one specific sub-skill.

Or the test text could have been contextually difficult for him (something with which he's more unfamiliar than the average kid... like if he's a lifelong city boy reading about life on a farm or something), or something he wasn't interested in, or he wasn't comfortable with the computerized format of the test, or... any number of things.

I'd ask, probably more out of curiosity than anything, because his score DOES put him at. And I'd ask if a follow-up test will be given, and when.

Another thing to consider... the sample list it spits out (I think I know the program you're talking about) is designed, I think, to provide examples of INDEPENDENT reading books... books they can read without any adult help... at the low end, with books the can read with teacher/parent guidance at the higher end. In that sense, a mid-second-grade instructional reading level (the high end of the range) is really not that far off from a beginning-of-third-grade reading level, and that difference could be explained by any of the factors I listed above, or, you know, he had the hiccups and hit the wrong key a few times .

But yeah, ask. In a friendly, curious manner. If nothing else, it's a nice, positive reason to have a discussion with your child's teacher.

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Old 10-19-2010, 02:35 AM
 
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I would ask the teacher if the test was based on speed (which is labeled fluency in our state) or actual reading ability and comprehension. My dd reads and comprehends at a high third/low fourth grade level but reads at a speed that puts her just below 2nd grade level. Her teacher has grouped her based on the speed because the state assesses and grades schools based on that at. She was very frustrated and I have talked to her teacher about it but she isn't willing to change it and things are good other than that. We mostly just keep home reading and school reading separate and I tell my dd the state is really silly right now and just worried about speed when they should worry about understanding what is being read.
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Old 10-19-2010, 11:18 AM
 
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We just went through something very similar and I contacted the teacher to request a reassessment either by the teacher or the reading specialist. She was reassessed by the reading specialist and her reading level jumped by over a half year.

In our case, they said my daughter could decode at an even higher level, however, her comprehension was holding her back. Because of that, they've come up with a plan for her and a couple of other kids in the class who are solid readers, but still need comprehension work.
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Old 10-19-2010, 11:34 AM
 
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I agree with asking the teacher for more information. He may just be labeled according to how they test. Though I would also check into how they test.

Ds entered K reading at about a 3rd grade level (as his teacher informally tested him at the start of the year) but later said he was testing below grade level in comprehension. Dh asked him the same questions (in a teacher conference) and ds could answer them all. Though ds was later diagnosed as ADHD and possibly Asperger's, at the time we just knew that

1) Ds doesn't like to be put on the spot with questions
2) Ds doesn't like to be asked to do things that are too easy or "beneath " him
3) Ds is easily distracted and is more likely to be looking past you than paying attention
4) Ds is uncomfortable with prolonged eye contact

His teacher just had to adjust how she tested ds.

This year, we pick books that are slightly challenging for ds for his daily reading (he needs help with 1-3 words per page), but his in class reading material are simple, repetitive stories.

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Old 10-19-2010, 12:26 PM
 
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Personally, I wouldn't at this moment. You are dealing with a very, very slight differences... mid-second grade and beginning of third are pretty much the same. You'll have more leverage if you give it a few weeks, let him read books of his choice at the high range of his given level, see how he does on the book tests and THEN go talk to the teacher. If you go in with his having read 6 mid-second grade level books and getting 95 percent or higher on all the tests, you certainly have a leg to stand on to get his level re-examined. Plus, when he re-tests, he'll have experience and likely do better. Truely, you'll get a better response with some facts to back you up.

I will say that AR/lexile is annoying. Personally, I think kids should just read what they are interested in. My eldest didn't have to AR test until 6th grade and they put her at 7th grade level. This was about the level DD was reading at end of 1st grade lol. We didn't bother changing it because frankly, at 10, she didn't want to read romantic Jane Austen which was one of the few choices at her actual level (though, she loves reading it now at 13!) The next year, she maxed out the test and the school agreed she didn't have to do it anymore lol. Ironically, DS doesn't even like reading and he always tests super high... again, annoying because at 9, he isn't interested in the books at the level he tests at! I WISH he'd test lower to be honest.

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Old 10-19-2010, 07:19 PM
 
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We had a similar issue and I did say something. It turned out, the school would only test to the high end of where they should be and then stop and label them at that level. Then in the spring, they would measure a little higher and then be able to turn in paperwork to the state saying this is how much all the kids progressed. That is how they do it here. It is all about NCLB, not about the children.
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Old 10-19-2010, 07:44 PM
 
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I wouldn't say anything. What does it matter what level he's been designated as or what books are suggested for home? He'll read what he wants to, right? If you know he's solid in reading, that's what matters.
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Old 10-19-2010, 09:59 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I wouldn't say anything. What does it matter what level he's been designated as or what books are suggested for home? He'll read what he wants to, right? If you know he's solid in reading, that's what matters.
It's not so much that I take the suggested list as a guide to what to read at home - he chooses books that are interesting for him. It's that this is the level they are having him read and instructing him at for reading in school. If it were just a score on the paper or the list, I definitely wouldn't bother. If I'm sending him to school, then shouldn't they be doing the work of teaching him something he doesn't already know?
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Old 10-19-2010, 11:51 PM
 
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I would certainly ask. I would like to point out that a lot of children can read at a more difficult level but do not comprehend what they are reading. Does that make sense? My DS is in school (1st grade as well) and is currently on a 3rd grade reading level. His teacher and I have discussed his reading abilities at great length and I know that many other children in the class are capable of reading higher than a 1st grade level but they are held back from reading those books because when questioned on the literature they seem to not have thoroughly understood what the book was about. I know in first grade they work on comprehension and fluency more than anything. Is he able to repeat details and summarize what he's read to you? Is he able to answer questions about the book?

Also, DS can read a little further than the level they have him at. But because of the activities - mainly group literacy activities - they cannot put him on a higher level because he would be in a group by himself as he wouldn't be reading the same books. The class is set up in groups for reading times and they are grouped by reading level. If she moves him any further along he wouldn't be able to participate. Honestly? Let him read what he likes at home and keep him going and reading further along on higher levels as he needs to. Seems like he's just ahead of the curve at school and that's a great thing. If you are concerned, I would certainly ask the teacher though.

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Old 10-20-2010, 01:14 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Yes, he's able to sequence information, tell about the book, and answer questions. He still needs practice figuring out new vocabulary in context and making inferences and predictions, but that's pretty much an ongoing thing with reading comprehension at any level. It's around the early 3rd level that it gets harder for him.

It's the Scholastic Reading Inventory, which they use for progress monitoring, Response to Intervention, and to guide curriculum/placement. It is aimed at reading comprehension more than fluency.

Emmeline, my ds is a lot like yours in the fact that he doesn't like to be put on the spot and he doesn't like questions that are too easy. He is also very distracted by other goings-on, which is related to some sensory stuff.

I feel like the computerized testing, while efficient, tends to detract from the "teaching" aspect of teaching. A computer generates and scores the results, while the teachers have no part of the process to analyze the scores. Are kids missing a specific type of question? Are they missing a specific question that could use re-wording? Maybe they need a quick lesson in test taking skills, or maybe an explanation of what the question is looking for.

I printed off some comprehension questions (from a reading curriculum source) for a book that ds had read a couple of weeks ago. One of the questions was "From this story, you can tell that Becky is ______" with A-D choices. Ds said "Confused" because during the story Becky got confused when trying to complete her puzzle. The correct answer was "Determined" because that is the big picture, the character trait. But it was also a new vocabulary word, and when I told him what it meant, he knew that fit Becky too. So then we talked about the concept of main idea.
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Old 10-20-2010, 02:08 PM
 
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Originally Posted by Rose-Roget View Post
It's that this is the level they are having him read and instructing him at for reading in school.
Do you feel that the reading instruction that you son is getting at school is not appropriate for him?

That's a whole different question/problem.

These tests were not used for placement/instruction in my children's school. They were only used to make reading suggestions and "show progress."

but everything has pros and cons  shrug.gif

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Old 10-20-2010, 02:14 PM
 
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Yes, he's able to sequence information, tell about the book, and answer questions. He still needs practice figuring out new vocabulary in context and making inferences and predictions, but that's pretty much an ongoing thing with reading comprehension at any level. It's around the early 3rd level that it gets harder for him.
But your son is only in first grade. Can't you let this go, and let him learn at his own pace, rather than pushing him to learn things at the more difficult third grade level? If he enjoys reading, and is the strong reader you say he is, he will figure these things out on his own, the way all kids who love to read do. For a child his age, I think nurturing the love of reading is by far the most important thing you can do for him. Not quizzing him with worksheets, doing all this assessment and fretting over his school assessment.
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Old 10-20-2010, 04:12 PM
 
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Rose, this is a frustrating situation. I just wanted to say that I can empathize with you only because my DD (who will be 6 in a few weeks) loves books and loves to read. Her school uses the Primary Phonics series and the very first book is "Mac & Tab". She started with that at the beginning of kindergarten last year and I just found out that is where she was placed AGAIN this year in 1st grade. The teacher just said "she is shy around me", which can be true, but she is so far beyond that beginning point it makes me frustrated. I know she can easily read that, but I worry more about her getting bored. One of the reading parents is actually a reading teacher and she told me that DD commented to her, "I have already read these" and the parent noted that she read it fluently and without any hesitation. The word building was also started at a very low level, so I took her kindy word building log to her 1st grade teacher and she said she never got copied on this (long story, but not her kindy teacher's fault! Her kindy teacher did, in fact, make copies...but they never found their way to her new teacher).

Our official conference is tomorrow, but I did make mention that I feel DD is repeating her kindy year!!!! I am hoping to see her with more challenging work. In fact, her kindy teacher told me she could even give me all the word building lists and we could work with the moveable alphabet at home. I just feel this is something she needs to be doing in class, or I'd be homeschooling!

What I'm finding is that several of the 1st graders (they are all K/1 classes) have been put in the wrong reading and word building skill levels. I asked DD if she felt like she was being challenged and her response was, "I don't like being challenged!" LOL! Great.

The only advice I can give you is to go sit down with the teacher and try to figure out where DS's needs can be best met.

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Old 10-20-2010, 07:16 PM
 
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My son is also in first grade, and is also an advanced reader. However, our school doesn't use test scores to pick individual books to let him read or to teach with. The teacher guides children towards books that are appropriate for their individual reading levels, but ultimately lets them pick whatever interests them.

I have a hard time imaging that the reading/language arts program in a first grade program would change much based on the lexile score being a few points higher.

This is how the first 6 weeks of first grade went for us (ds2 never went to preschool or K): Started out the whole class on the same level. Teacher realized that ds and one other child were very advanced, and told me that she wanted to put ds in a the advanced reading group that met with a specialist. I said fine. None of this was based on testing, just on her observations. Ds ended up not liking the advanced reading group - he could do the work just fine, but he didn't like being pulled out of the classroom or the extra writing packets that went along with it.

His teacher told me her main objective was to foster his love of reading, not kill it with reading groups he didn't like, so if I didn't mind she would take him out of the advanced reading group. Fine with me. So now, during reading time, since he is so far past the phonics work the rest of the class is doing, she lets him have free reading time. She told me she does give him some of the books from the advanced reading group, but ultimately he is free to choose whatever he is interested in.

Anyway, I don't know if this is helpful to you, but in our situation I can't imagine how test scores would have changed anything.
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Old 10-20-2010, 07:20 PM
 
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Do you feel that the reading instruction that you son is getting at school is not appropriate for him?

That's a whole different question/problem.

These tests were not used for placement/instruction in my children's school. They were only used to make reading suggestions and "show progress."
This is a much more succinct version of what I was trying to say.
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Old 10-20-2010, 07:53 PM - Thread Starter
 
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But your son is only in first grade. Can't you let this go, and let him learn at his own pace, rather than pushing him to learn things at the more difficult third grade level?
To clarify, I'm not pushing him; I merely want the reading level to be suited toward his individual needs. Just like I wouldn't want him working at an inappropriate level in Math - high or low. Also to clarify, I don't sit around quizzing my son all the time. I was illustrating pps' questions and suggestions about his comprehension and/or having a little data.

Oceanbaby, ds's class is mixed ages - 1st-3rd grades, so the classroom is set up for higher and lower levels, which the kids can move among.

Linda - Yes, it's the programming that bugs me. Unfortunately, in this school, the teacher uses the "score" to determine what the child reads in class. I may clarify that, though, in case I misunderstood.

Ds does love reading, and he chooses a wide variety of books and levels to read at home. I don't know - is finding reading material toward the top of a student's level for instruction killing a love of reading, or can it open up new possibilities of books and a sense of success for learning something new? I certainly don't want to squelch the enjoyment.
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Old 10-20-2010, 08:17 PM
 
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Linda - Yes, it's the programming that bugs me. Unfortunately, in this school, the teacher uses the "score" to determine what the child reads in class. I may clarify that, though, in case I misunderstood.
yes, and you need to find out if he would have a different placement for reading groups even if a higher score were more accurate. It's possible that even if that score is part of what is reading placement is based on on, since he scored above grade level and the difference you suspect isn't all the great, that it wouldn't matter any way.

<<The correct answer was "Determined" because that is the big picture, the character trait. But it was also a new vocabulary word, and when I told him what it meant, he knew that fit Becky too. >>

part of reading level is vocabulary and understanding things like main idea.

but everything has pros and cons  shrug.gif

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Old 10-20-2010, 10:59 PM - Thread Starter
 
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part of reading level is vocabulary and understanding things like main idea.
Absolutely! And this is the instructional level he would probably benefit from working at. At all levels, new vocabulary, main idea, inferencing, etc. are important - they just progress in difficulty.

But do I have it backward? I was thinking that the school should be the place for "working" on those skills at a level of comfort, but slight challenge - learning, progressing - while home would be the place for him to explore books of different levels, if he chooses. It's true that it doesn't really matter since he's not struggling. I just don't want him to get bored, and I do want him to progress at his own pace (not what the teacher sets out based on the test and so that she can show growth).
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