I haven’t posted in a while, because like many of you, I’ve been plodding through the second busiest time of the school year. After the first weeks of school, the next busiest time for me is finals week.
Even high school reading intervention classes engage in a version of finals. The final in my class has multiple purposes, the least of which is a larger-than-normal notation in the grade book. My focus is on helping my students understand their own growth. The freshman year is the last opportunity for this type of intervention in this district. The intervention process I proposed for secondary was implemented district-wide in grades 6-9. Since I teach students in the last year of the intervention, I want students to move forward with a grasp of what they have gained through this experience, where they still need to improve, and what they can do to continue to grow.
Throughout each semester, every piece of data produced by the students is kept in their individual files. This includes strategy lessons, annotated texts, reading reflections, morphology practice and weekly quizzes, reciprocal teaching documentation, exit slips, etc. All of it is used to help the students develop and apply skills to become better readers, writers, and thinkers and help me make instructional choices for the students. Intervention instructional decisions are not always clear-cut, but they are made with attention to formative data. Each piece of data contributes to a picture and feeds daily instructional choices.
At the end of a semester, or for some students the end of the school year, they are asked to analyze the details of this picture to help them develop their own image of their growth. The end product of the analysis is an essay. The requirements of this essay are consistent with our intervention focus to improve each student’s literacy skills, motivation, and self-perception as reader. Often the process to construct this final essay is the moment the students finally realize their gains, the impact of their effort, and the changes in how they see themselves and the purpose of the class.
Below are the elements students use to prep the essay. I also linked a couple of essays. The first sample is from a student (Monica) who doubled typical yearly growth in a semester to earn a grade level score (220) on the MAP. Our goal as a district intervention is to at least double the typical yearly growth in an effort to close the gap. Additionally, Monica’s QRI (Quantitative Reading Inventory) instructional reading level moved to an upper middle school level from the 4th grade level at which she started the quarter. Monica is also an ESL student who intentionally seeks to expand her use of English vocabulary. I think her essay shows some of her growth in this area as well.
In the second sample, the student (Destiny) did double typical growth in the first semester, but dropped in her second semester, and did not meet her overall personal goal or attain a grade level MAP score. She had a larger gap to bridge and computerized standardized tests produced obvious physical anxiety for her. So even though the MAP did not show her obvious growth, her QRI scores did. Destiny also grew from an instructional reading level of 4th grade to an instructional level of upper middle school. I also found her thoughtfulness about her process to be one of the greatest indicators of development.
- Data Self-Evaluation Collection
- Final Essay/ Letter Graphic Organizer
- Sample Essay Monica (2016)
- Sample Essay Destiny (2015)
How do you assess student literacy development? What formative data do you collect to make decisions or assess short-term growth? What summative or standardized assessments does your district require to determine that students are making adequate progress?