Saturday, March 1, 2014

Not the Whole Truth

It's that time again. Time for assessing the reading of my class. Last week I started with my lower, struggling readers. They've been working hard and I was interested in what the assessment would show.

One reader has made great progress, moving up quite a bit. I knew her reading was progressing...I could hear it in her smooth reading and in the way she attacks unfamiliar words. She's not at grade level yet but she's a lot closer than she was.

My other least proficient reader also has progressed. He moved up some, and was closer to moving up even more. His accuracy was just a little short. But he is reading much more confidently and trying lots of different ways to figure out unfamiliar words.

Another struggling reader did not move up. But his reading is better, more smooth and fluid. I can tell that he's improving.

But if you look at the numbers. The first girl is still at a first grade level; the second student hasn't progressed as much; the third hasn't moved at all. Yes, they are all "below."

But the numbers don't tell the whole story. They don't communicate the hard work that these students have done. They don't show that these students have acquired more skills for reading, not just falling back on "sounding it out." I saw these students using illustrations to help them and using the context of the sentences to infer meaning and correct themselves.

One student, as he read, would correct his reading as he read. He didn't do that before. Sometimes he would say "come" instead of "came" (which is an error and counts against him - but he did read for meaning!). All three of these students are reading better, but the numbers show they are...well, if not failing then at least deficient.

I can't say that about them. I hope I can keep them from thinking it themselves.

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