Friday, May 23, 2014

Assessment-Guided Instruction

I sometimes wonder if our students realize how much we learn through reading and reflecting as we teach! As I finish up the paperwork after a semester immersed in assessment, thanks to "teaching" about it, I really need to document my thoughts.......  
Gareis and Grant on assessment
It's easy to talk the talk and much harder to walk the walk in the area of assessment-guided, differentiated instruction. Knowing a student's strengths and needs is a lot of work, takes time and requires more than one assessment!  Yet, it is essential for effective teaching and supports learning for all students.  For our strongest and for our most struggling students, assessment-guided instruction makes all the difference in the world.  Programs and formats work best when we can use our students' strengths to support their needs.  
Classroom teachers use:
Pretests help us know what a learner can do before we start teaching a specific skill' however, they are rarely diagnostic in their focus and cannot, usually, spot weaknesses or holes that might stand in the way of new learning.  In addition, pretests measure progress at a moment in time rather than as learning occurs.  
Formative assessments is integrated into our teaching, seamlessly. Do-nows and exit tickets are some of my own favorite means of formative assessment; however, running records (the real Marie Clay kind), turn and talks and thumbs up are also pretty much integrated into every day teaching in most classrooms.   Some studies (Stiggins) suggest students gain much more in classrooms where formative assessments guide instruction.
Summative assessments are used at the end of a unit of study to measure student learning.  
Screening assessments help us to know which students might need more support.  They are typically given at the beginning of a year as a measure of which students might need support. They measure prior learning. 
Literacy specialist/special education teachers use all of these plus:
Progress monitoring assessment are used to determine if an intervention or a strategy is making a difference.  
Diagnostic assessments help us understanding how student's learn and identify strengths and needs. For students who struggle, this must be a part of what we do so that we can effectively modify/differentiate instruction.
Here are a few places to start:
Easy CBMs
Intervention Central
A Good Read:
Fountas and Pinnell

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