Formative assessments show students' strengths and weaknesses. Teachers use this data to plan strong lessons or modify strategies that are not working, while students use the results as a sign of their progress. Usually formative assessments count as practice, not graded work. Summative assessments are designed to give information about the amount of learning that has occurred at a particular point; they to help evaluate the effectiveness of programs, alignment of curriculum, or a student’s growth in reading or writing.
To help parents and students see growth and track progress, both types of assessments will be entered into the grade book. All assessments will be scored on a rubric of 1-4, with 4 being the highest. Each type of assessment has a specific rubric that students will keep in their class notebook.
Student’s Skill Level
All of these assessments take place in class.
Timed Writes, unannounced
One way students can reduce the anxiety connected with writing big essays is through learning several strategies that will equip them with the skills to succeed under pressure. Timed Writes can help with this. A few times each quarter I will ask you to respond to a song I play or perhaps ask you to connect to a poem I read, a quote, or to analyze something from your assigned reading. I may ask you to model a specific author’s techniques or to use a specific literary device (simile, metaphor, etc.). Most importantly, you will be writing consistently and improving your skills. You will write for at least 10 minutes and do your best to address that prompt thoroughly and fluently (please remember to include a main thesis). These entries are valuable for many reasons, one of which is that you’ll develop some of them into full pieces of writing.
Writing Benchmarks, 180 minute, draft scored on 1-4 COS rubric
Writing benchmarks are examples of student writing for each type of writing in the Washington Measurement of Student Progress. Students are given time to brainstorm and outline a prompt, and then given a whole class period to write and revise their draft. These benchmarks are intended for use with both writing instruction and writing assessment. Benchmarks are reviewed with students after they are scored.
Essays, final drafts scored 1-4 for COS and 0-2 for Conventions
The ultimate goal of writing instruction is for students to become assessors of their own writing. Too often, students think revision is just a matter of fixing the sloppy copy. While conventions are important, there are 5 other, equally important traits to consider while revising during the writing process. As a part of the writing process, all brainstorming, drafting, revising, rethinking, and editing will be checked off as assignments. Only the final draft will be scored as an assessment.
CFA, assessment of reading skills, literary text
Common formative assessments (CFAs) are given throughout the year to identify (1) individual students who need additional time and support for learning, (2) the teaching strategies most effective in helping students acquire the knowledge and skills, (3) program concerns – areas in which students generally are having difficulty achieving the intended standard – and (4) improvement goals for individual teachers and the Language Arts team. CFAs help bring consistency to our reading team to ensure that every student in our school is being given the opportunity to excel in reading. The assessment is usually short, targeted to a specific skill, and done with paper/pencil.
CBM, assessment of reading comprehension and vocabulary, literary text
Curriculum Based Measurements (CBMs) just like CFAs, CBMs are given throughout the year, but students use computers for these District-wide assessments. CBMs give a quick snapshot of reading comprehension and vocabulary, with immediate feedback available for both teachers and students. These short assessments are not timed, but usually take a class period.
Reading fluency, twice a yearMost people have a constant rate when reading. This rate is the fastest pace at which a person can understand complete thoughts in successive sentences of relatively easy material. As long as the material is relatively easy to read, a person's rate stays constant. For different types of tasks, however, readers often alter their rate. Students with slow reading rates are often not aware that good readers adjust their rate depending on the purpose of reading. With a one-minute fluency check, it is easy to see if a student is struggling. These quick checks are done individually and students who are working on reading fluency goals often notice improvement in their oral fluency within 6 weeks.