Using Informative Assessments towards Effective Literacy Instruction: Volume 1

Cover of Using Informative Assessments towards Effective Literacy Instruction

Table of contents

(19 chapters)

This new book series, Literacy Research, Practice and Evaluation, was first envisioned to advance the often times partitioned nature of reading and writing research by bringing together multidimensional knowledge within the field of literacy education; moreover, it was founded on the belief that praxis, or the combination of research with practice, should be the ultimate goal of educational missions and visions alike. Literacy Research, Practice and Evaluation provides a fresh examination of current issues and trends salient to novice and experienced educators alike.

Purpose – To provide pre-service and in-service teachers with a framework for using formative assessments to inform their literacy instructional practices.

Design/methodology/approach – Assessment as inquiry is a cyclical problem-solving stance that can be applied to instructional decision making in the classroom.

Findings – Teachers are urged to keep six design features in mind when creating formative assessments and analyzing the data gathered from them.

Practical Implications – This chapter is a helpful resource for teachers when evaluating their uses and analysis of classroom literacy assessments.

Originality/value – Teachers who apply the information in the chapter will gain a deeper understanding of each student's developing levels of literacy knowledge, skills, strategies, and dispositions. This information will facilitate a teacher's ability to better meet the needs of all students in his or her classroom.

Purpose – The chapter provides the reader with an overview of the major components of informal reading inventories (IRIs) and how they can be administered to answer specific questions about students’ reading behaviors. The focus then shifts to how IRIs can be used to help teachers target instruction to better meet students’ instructional needs.

Methodology/approach – The authors describe how educators can use the results of IRIs to analyze a student's strengths and areas of need, align those findings with research about six types (clusters) of readers (Valencia & Buly, 2004), and select one or more of the strategies recommended in the chapter to provide instruction related to that student's specific areas of need.

Practical implications – In addition to the numerous instructional recommendations provided for the six clusters of readers, the chapter includes a detailed scenario of how one teacher used the results of an IRI to plan instruction for a struggling reader, a process that could be replicated by educators who read the chapter.

Social implications – The chapter suggests how small groups of educators could work together to determine which of their students to assess with an IRI and, after assessing, to discuss how they will use the results to target instruction for those students.

Purpose – To provide a resource for educators and graduate students that contains information about using formal assessment data to plan literacy instruction and intervention.

Design/methodology/approach – Several aspects of formal assessment are presented, including a definition of formal assessment, types of formal assessment scores, commonly used formal assessments, and recommendations for using formal assessments for individuals and groups. Information about formal assessment is informed both by documented sources and the experiences of the authors.

Findings – The authors provide an overview of common, commercially available assessments designed to measure literacy achievement in either individuals or groups. Reviews of formal assessments include scores, number of forms, literacy domains measured, and published reliability figures. Recommendations for formal assessment use include using assessment data to plan instruction and intervention for both individuals and groups. In addition, a case study is presented demonstrating the efficacy of using formal assessment data to plan instruction and intervention in a K-6 elementary school in the United States.

Research limitations/implications – The review of commercially available individual and group literacy assessments does not constitute an exhaustive list.

Practical implications – Information about formal assessments, assessment score types, and formal assessment uses is consolidated in one location for easy access by graduate students and other educators.

Originality/value – This chapter provides graduate students and others in the field of education an overview of formal assessments and how formal assessment data can be used to make instructional decisions for both individuals and groups.

Purpose – This chapter describes an assessment tool that not only contains all of the good qualities of formative assessments, in that it informs teaching and is based on systematic observation of the learner engaged in reading and writing, but also possesses the same good qualities as standardized assessments, in that a student's performance can be compared to other students over time.

Methodology/approach – The chapter begins with an overview of Clay's interactive literacy processing theory. The value of using observation is discussed and a case is made that when observations are conducted in a systematic way, the assessment can possess all the same qualities of a good standardized instrument. Two first-grade students' assessment data from the Observation Survey (OS), one a struggling reader and the other working at low-average level, are shared in order to demonstrate how to interpret the assessment data using Clay's literacy processing theory and how to use those interpretations to inform teaching.

Practical implications – Systematic observation of children engaged in reading, and writing continuous text, allows the teacher to observe behaviors that can be used to infer what a reader is using and doing while reading.

Value – This assessment information can be used to effectively scaffold literacy instruction and a child's reading performance.

Purpose – To provide classroom teachers with an overview of a range of assessments that can be administered either individually or to a group.

Design/methodology/approach – The chapter is organized from early literacy skill assessments (both individual and group based) to comprehension and standardized tests.

Findings – Provides detailed information on skills required for each element of reading, design of assessment, intended purpose, and process of administration.

Research limitations/implications – This is not an exhaustive list, the authors strove to highlight the most reliable and practical assessments from a large body of possible choices.

Practical implications – This is a valuable source for classroom teachers who are provided with a wide-range of assessment choices covering the breadth of reading skills with extensive details on each.

Originality/value of paper – Teachers need a range of assessments to choose from to make decisions at the individual, class and school level.

Purpose – To provide details on using assessment data as instructionally informative tools, and how those tools are strengthened when matched with knowledge of reading development.

Design/methodology/approach – Using a second grade team as an example, the chapter provides an overview of how assessments inform us about students' reading abilities, and then discusses the instructionally informative nature of reading assessments.

Findings – The chapter is focused on the work the second grade team is doing to incorporate informative assessments in their instructional planning. The team is viewed as a case for how to administer and analyze assessment data, and then plan appropriate instruction based on the assessment results.

Research limitations/implications – Focusing on one primary grade instructional team does not allow for generalizability across grade levels, or instructional contexts.

Practical implications – Useful for practitioners interested in incorporating literacy-based, data-driven decision-making in their professional learning communities.

Originality/value – Offers a case with the step-by-step approach taken by second grade teachers in making instructional decisions about students using literacy assessments.

Purposes – To examine the literature on alternative assessments for evaluating student learning in practical classroom learning experiences. To recommend areas of literacy development where additional assessment is needed.

Design – A review of literature on formative and performance assessment is provided and supplemented with samples of assessments recommended in the literature review.

Practical implications – Legislative and political mandates for accountability in student learning increase the need for teachers to understand and apply classroom screening, diagnostic, and progress-monitoring assessments. Teachers can use the information provided to think more carefully about the use of alternative assessments in their elementary and middle school classrooms.

Value – This chapter provides a frame of reference for informing teachers’ thinking about alternative assessments and suggests the need for classroom assessments to measure aspects of literacy development not frequently assessed.

Purpose – To highlight and discuss a framework for promoting effective classroom assessment practice that supports the language and literacy development of English Learners (ELs).

Design/methodology/approach – Though it includes some practical recommendations, it primarily synthesizes the work found in theoretical books on EL assessment.

Findings – Provides information on the main issues teachers need to consider for engagement in effective assessment practices at the classroom levels, with particular attention to classroom-based assessment. It highlights the need for considering a multiliteracies approach.

Research limitations/implications – It focuses on ELs in the U.S. K-12 system, therefore, it does not encompass all the possible types of ELs. It does not focus on high-stakes testing.

Practical implications – A very useful source of information for both preservice and in-service teachers of ELs.

Originality/value – This chapter offers an overview of essential elements involved in the assessment of special populations of students as is the case of ELs in U.S. public schools.

Purpose – To present the Assessment to Instructional Planning (ATIP) framework that uses assessment to guide instructional planning.

Design/methodology/approach – The ATIP framework is comprised of three interconnected processes: data collection, data analysis and interpretation, and instructional planning.

Findings – In the ATIP framework, data collection includes reviewing background information and developing and implementing an assessment plan. The data analysis and interpretation process begins with scoring assessments and progresses to contextualizing results and making decisions. Instructional planning moves from setting goals to selecting instructional methods and materials, implementing instructional checkpoints, and monitoring and adjusting instruction.

Research limitations/implications – The ATIP framework provides a step-by-step process that educators can follow to use assessment to plan instruction. ATIP requires that educators already have knowledge of literacy assessment and instruction to apply the Framework appropriately.

Practical implications – The ATIP framework can be applied for students in grades K-8 in clinical settings, school-based intervention programs, and elementary and middle school classrooms.

Originality/value – This chapter provides three profiles to illustrate the ATIP framework in clinical, small-group intervention, and classroom settings with different levels of readers with varying strengths, needs, and backgrounds.

Purpose – This chapter argues that classroom teachers need to be more effective and efficient in order to meet the needs of all students and support their grade-level achievement. Given the challenges of contemporary schools – mandated curricula, intensive monitoring and intervention, high-stakes testing, and increased student diversity – teachers are expected to incorporate research-based practices in sophisticated ways. This chapter challenges teachers to assess and enhance their instructional effectiveness.

Approach – This chapter explores ways for teachers to make literacy assessment and instruction more appropriate, productive, and successful, which requires that teachers expand their repertoire of methods and consider ways to deliver instruction expeditiously.

Content – Examples of inefficient practices preface a discussion of some common hindrances to more streamlined instruction. The chapter demonstrates the use of literacy assessment to support more flexible instructional activities, focusing on literacy delivery modes that align with increasingly more difficult text. Subsequent discussion details numerous literacy experiences, including variations of teacher-led, collaborative, guided, partner, and student-led reading. Seven guidelines are presented. The conclusion summarizes an example of how a reading coach used assessment to synthesize an effective intervention to support the marked improvement of a third-grade reader.

Implications – The chapter's goal is that teachers consider ways to combine experiences that increase effectiveness, efficiency, and engagement. Readers can explore ways to use assessment to improve their instruction. Numerous suggestions and activities accompany the discussion.

Value – The chapter content challenges teachers to streamline and sophisticate their literacy instruction and demonstrates ways to combine literacy experiences that foster student achievement and engagement.

Purpose – To identify effective literacy instructional strategies and methods based on assessment. Also, to provide information on literacy experts that teachers may seek advice from as they work with striving readers.

Approach – A review of literature and the research on teaching striving readers were examined.

Practical implications – Reading is an important determining factor in efficacious learning and overall literacy; students must possess the necessary literacy skills to become successful and productive citizens in an information age. Throughout the chapter, a striving reader is presented while offering the reader an authentic example of a striving reader. The strategies, methods, and experts offer best practices; these will enhance the student(s) literacy skills.

Originality/value of paper – Educators utilizing the information provided in this chapter will be enhanced in their ability to effectively teach their students.

Purpose – To provide differentiated teaching models and a set of instructional reading strategies and materials for current and future classroom teachers to help them enhance the quality of reading instruction for English Learners (ELs).

Design/methodology/approach – The instructional reading strategies and materials and differentiated teaching models presented in this chapter are drawn from a body of current literature on ELs' English language development and on effective reading instruction for ELs. The instructional reading strategies and materials are categorized into five subcomponents of reading instruction: sight words, phonics, fluency, vocabulary, and comprehension.

Findings – Provides differentiated teaching models and specific instructional strategies and materials that target each of the five specific subcomponents of reading instruction for ELs (i.e., sight words, phonics, fluency, vocabulary, and comprehension).

Research limitations/implications – Some publications related to instructional reading strategies and materials may be limited to specific ELs in United States who speak a predominate native language (i.e., Spanish). These instructional reading strategies and materials may not be appropriate for ELs speaking another native language.

Practical implications – A very useful source of differentiated teaching models and practical instructional reading strategies and materials for current and future classroom teachers of ELs.

Originality/value – This chapter provides specific information and resources for current and future classroom teachers of ELs to support them in delivering high quality reading instruction.

Purpose – To highlight ways to overcome challenges in conducting authentic assessments and using data effectively in program planning.

Approach – To help teachers investigate the definition and purpose of assessments available for use in today's diverse classrooms, and use assessment results to inform instruction.

Practical implications – A school team analysis framework focused on teacher collaboration when conducting evaluations of districts' reading programs, a data use cycle, and a reflective questionnaire are provided for professional development.

Social implications – Social justice and differentiated instruction require balanced assessment methods and portfolio use as an implementable and manageable method to document student progress.

Originality/value of paper – This chapter engages teachers in the reality that they can be the driving force behind assessments for learning in their classrooms, schools, and districts.

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Publication date
Book series
Literacy Research, Practice and Evaluation
Series copyright holder
Emerald Publishing Limited
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