We recommend using a robust benchmarking assessment that looks at students’ progress three times a year: early in the school year, in the middle of the year, and at the end of the school year. We also recommend short progress monitoring check-ins on students’ literacy learning each week or every other week. With students who are struggling to learn to read, you will want to check in even more often.
For your benchmarking assessment needs, Pioneer Valley Books offers a number of options. We are currently working on a digital phonics assessment that can be administered at the beginning of the year and at the midterm and end-of-year assessment times. This assessment will focus on how students have progressed along the phonics continuum, as well as how their decoding and encoding skills have developed.
Another benchmarking assessment option is The Literacy Footprints Guided Reading Assessment. In this assessment, students read short books and are evaluated on their progress in decoding, fluency, and comprehension. They then do a quick word study/phonics assessment and are evaluated on their decoding skills. They also write a short passage and are evaluated on their spelling and other writing criteria.
Weekly progress monitoring assessments can be short and simple and should focus on decoding and encoding skills, along with how well students are controlling the phonic elements currently being taught. Here are some ways to get a fast and easy read on student progress:
- Listen to a student read a few pages from a book you have used for instruction and take a running record or make note of mistakes.
- Ask students to write a few words that reflect the phonics skill you have taught that week.
- Dictate a sentence that contains phonic elements and sight words you have been working on.