How to Use Assessment
Data to Meet the Needs of Your Students
As teachers we spend a lot of time assessing our
students. In the early grades we are required to administer the
ECLAS (Early Childhood Literacy Assessment System). Our schools
may add other assessments, such as the DIBELS (Dynamic Indicators
of Basic Early Literacy Skills) and the DRA (Developmental Reading
Assessment). If we're teaching using the Reading Workshop/Writing
Workshop Model we also have our notes from conferring with our students.
That’s a lot of data about each of our students.
But data is useless if we just collect it and go on teaching exactly
as we did before. We may teach what a child already knows well,
or teach so far over a student's head that they can't get anything
out of the lesson. The point of collecting data, it seems to me,
is to use that information to modify instruction to meet the needs
of our students.
Start with the results of your ECLAS. Use this information to
make sure your students have the correct leveled books in their
book baggies. You want to have about a third of your classroom leveled.
Students should know their levels so that when they "shop"
for books they can choose books at their own level. (Rule of thumb:
A book is at a student’s level if he or she can read between
85-100% of it accurately.)
Don’t guess at the levels of the books. Many people have invested
years of work in studying book characteristics. Here are some resources
you can use:
- The Reading Recovery Booklist by Marie Clay
and colleagues ;
- Guided Reading by Gay Su Pinnell and Irene
- Barbara Peterson and her work with characteristics of text;
- Developmental Reading Assessment (DRA) by Joetta
- Jeanne Chall and her work with qualitative leveling of books.
Everything works better if children are reading books they can
read. Your children will make progress, and using the assessment
data will have paid off for you.
If you have comments or questions, please contact
me at firstname.lastname@example.org.