Assessing Student’s Reading in the Classroom

Student Reading Assess

Student Reading Assess
There are two ways of assessing reading and these are called Informal and Formal Assessment.

Many of the children that are touched by these program come from backgrounds which are hovering near the poverty line. It is therefore unreasonable to simply concentrate on education without the other aspects of their lives which change the outlook on the things that they do. It is crucial that there are clear guidelines on the types of things that can be done to achieve success in this area.

Informal Assessment


Every time teachers listen to children reading they are making some assessment of their progress and watching to see how the reading skills are developing. From time to time they may ask children to read with no help and take a closer and very detailed look at what mistakes a child is making and how they go about dealing with unfamiliar words.

From this kind of detailed study of children’s reading, teachers can see what particular aspects of an individual’s reading need working on. For example, a child may constantly misread words like they and were which would suggest that some further work on high frequency words is needed – using some worksheets or reading games, for instance.

Informal assessment is ongoing – not something which is only done once or twice a year. It is called informal assessment because the teacher uses the ordinary classroom materials and because it is done in an informal way – the children will not realize they are being tested.

Formal Assessment

As the name implies, this is a much more formal process -children are given reading tests under test conditions. Formal testing of this sort is not used a great deal in Infant schools; the most likely use will be in the case of children who are having problems and children at the end of their first two years in school or at the age of transfer to the Junior department or school. Of course, there are schools who use reading tests more frequently than others.

There are a large number of reading tests which are available for school use and most of them involve children reading either single words or sentences/passages. When a test is marked, the score is translated into a reading quotient or a reading age. As far as reading quotients are concerned, below 85 is below average, 85-115 is average and over 115 is above average. More commonly, a child’s test score is translated into an age equivalent score – a reading age. The idea here is that a seven year old child who has a reading age of 8 years 6 months is said to have scored at the level which could be expected from the average eight and a half year old but. . .

Never place too much reliance on a supposed reading age for your child for the following reasons :

  • – Reading tests can never measure a child’s total reading ability; they can only test aspects of it. A word recognition test (reading a list of single words) can only test a child’s ability to read words in isolation, for example. This, incidentally, is the hardest thing to do because the child does not have the benefit of the rest of the words in a sentence to help in working out a word she or he may not be sure of.
  • – Reading tests vary enormously in their results; the same child given two different tests could have two different reading ages which could vary by a year or eighteen months.
  • – All we can ever say with certainty is that a particular child has a particular reading age as measured by a particular reading test on a particular date. Another day and another test and it could be a very different story.

 

When applied properly, reading tests do have some value for teachers. Many teachers are, however, reluctant to talk about test results and reading ages to parents and for fear that a parent might consider the child’s reading age as a fixed and gospel thing (or even worse, that they might tell their child which might lead to all kinds of mis-perceptions about his or her ability on the child’s part.)

We cannot leave the subject of assessment without some brief mention of the Education Reform Act. A feature of this Act of Parliament is that for the main or core subject areas, including English or Language teaching, there will be broad programs of study for all teachers to follow at all stages of schooling.

There will also be attainment targets to aim for and children will be assessed at 7 and 11 in the Primary school. Teachers will be assessing children at other stages as well, of course, but these two ages are the important ones – the reporting ages as they are called. It seems likely that as far as reading and writing are concerned, most of the primary school assessments will be of things which are done as part of the everyday, ‘normal’ classroom activity.

These developments are some way off yet and, we do not know for certain any details; the various working groups are still making their reports to the government who will then make their decisions. Watch the newspapers for further information!