He can be found at www. Today’s guest blog is written by Jennifer Serravallo, the author of numerous resources about assessment and instruction in reading illinois kids assessment login the best-selling Teaching Reading in Small Groups. The spring weather we’ve all waited for is finally here, but, to our nation’s teachers, April brings dread: testing season.
Engaging, important curriculum is pushed aside for weeks to hone students’ test-taking skills because, after all, student promotion and teachers’ jobs depend on the scores. It’s no wonder assessment has become a four-letter word. There’s a difference, though, between capital-A assessment – standardized tests – and lowercase-a assessment, classroom-based formative assessments. Instead of the kind of reading assessment where kids are compelled to read short passages on disconnected topics and answer multiple choice questions, here’s what I propose: Kids read real books.
As they read, teachers ask them write about their thoughts and ideas, and comment on the main ideas, details, characters, plot, and vocabulary. Teachers would then treat these responses as assessment, and would evaluate them to determine what they say about the skills students use–or don’t yet use–as they read. Then teachers help students set goals, and teach them strategies they can apply again and again. Teachers meet with kids in ongoing conferences to give them feedback about their work with those strategies as students read more and more books of their own choosing. The whole point of assessment is to drive instruction.
With capital-A, standardized test assessment, the results arrive in summer, too late for teachers to use the information. And even if they could, the reliability of the information is questionable at best. The most effective teachers I’ve met take a scientific stance to their practice, puzzling over students’ every moves. They regard what students write, say, and do as data.