Monday, January 14, 2013

Mid-Year Assessments

Hi Friends!
It's that lovely time of the year again... mid-year assessments. Over the years I've heard lots of moaning and groaning about this topic, but it's actually something I really enjoy. It must be the teacher geek in me! I like it because it's the time where I can see all of the work we've put in over the past 5 months finally paying off. Don't get me wrong,  I see the growth in snippets each week from progress monitoring, weekly assessments, or when I read with my kids for a minute or two during guided reading each day, but when I do my mid year assessments I see tons of growth in comparison to where they started! I also like it because it's 1 on 1... a time to connect with my kids in a quiet setting.

I do three different assessments. First, I do the DRA  assessment. I only have a K-3 kit, so for most of my students this is a great assessment. It's not helpful for those kits who tested out of the kit at the beginning of the year. I wish we had the higher level DRA assessment on our campus, but we don't. Today I was so excited {and relieved} when I tested one of my kiddos (who came to me a little over a half of year behind ) and he tested exactly where 2nd graders should be right now. That means he made a whole years growth in just 5 months!! I was so proud of him!! It tells me that what I'm doing with him works!! :-)

The next assessment I do is with our FRY sight words. Up until now, our 2nd graders were supposed to have the 1st 500 words mastered. While we teach and practice many of those words in class, many of the words have to be learned on their own at home. My students did really well on this assessment. It's a reflection of their hard work {and their parents} at home.

Finally, the assessment I leave for last is our FAIR {Florida Assessment In Reading}. About four or five years ago it took the place of DIBELS in Florida schools. I haven't started to FAIR test my students yet. I'm going to begin as soon as all of my DRA tests are done. My thoughts are mixed as far as FAIR goes. I've seen some discrepancies in the reading passages. There are a few passages on the 1st and 2nd grade test which are clearly way higher than they are supposed to be. I'm also not thrilled that students are given a probability of reading success strictly based off of how many words they can read in 45 seconds{list is in the picture above}. Other than that, it's pretty good information, but I don't use it strictly in isolation. DRA is an excellent supplement for it.

The thing I struggled with up until a few years ago was classroom management during my tests. I had a hard time figuring out what to do with my other kids while was testing. I used to have busy work packets and tons of interruptions, lots of clips moving down. My poor former kids!  For the past 3 years, I've been doing Daily 5. I absolutely love doing the Daily 5 in my class because my kids are completely independent, they know exactly what is expected of them, and they do it. Plus, it's benefiting them and they're not bored with busy work! If you haven't tried it, I highly recommend it!!

So that's my mid-year assessment routine. What's yours? What do you love& what could you live without? I'd love to know!

Happy Monday!

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  1. I totally love mid year assessments too! It's great to see how my kid's progress and to use the data to help change up reading groups etc.

    We do the DRA and some other district-created phonics assessments.

    The management piece is difficult. I am glad to hear that the Daily 5 works well cause I am trying to implement it this year. I hope that will help the upcoming assessment period go more smoothly.

    Compassionate Teacher

  2. Good luck, Becky! Daily 5 works wonders! =)

  3. As much as I complain about the leg work involved in DRA with 58 kiddos, I have to say.. I'm with you! I love the feedback we get!! One of my fourthies came to me reading at a 28 and she just passed her 38 DRA! I was JUMPING for joy.. LITERALLY! So happy to hear you had such great success! Congrats, teach :)


  4. Oh my, 58 kids to DRA?!! That could take weeks!!! Congrats on moving your student up that much!! What a huge gain!! This is what I love about DRA! =)


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