Putting Reading Assessment and Achievement in the Palm of Your Hand - Tech Learning

Putting Reading Assessment and Achievement in the Palm of Your Hand

Reading is a long-term and complicated learning process, but every child needs to learn how to read! Substantial support in the early grades is essential if low achieving students are to catch up with their peers; also it will positively impact the average to above average learners. In order to be effective in
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Reading is a long-term and complicated learning process, but every child needs to learn how to read! Substantial support in the early grades is essential if low achieving students are to catch up with their peers; also it will positively impact the average to above average learners. In order to be effective in improving student reading skills, we as educators must evaluate our instructional practices and student abilities often to fully see progress over time.

As children learn to read, they must acquire skills to decode words and make meaning out of the written text. Each child develops decoding methods and reading comprehension skills at a different rate and the teacher must complete individual assessments to identify reading weaknesses. Collecting data allows the teacher to change instruction to meet the needs of every child. This is a big undertaking for the teacher and it can be an organizational nightmare. Two other aspects important for student learning are accuracy in recording data and using instructional strategies in a timely manner. The concept called Running Records is the single best way to assess not only a child's progress but also the child’s particular needs.

What are Running Records?

  • Developed by Marie Clay, the author of “An Observational Survey of Early Literacy Achievementâ€
  • Based on the theory that, by understanding the types of errors a student makes, teachers can better diagnose the specific skills that student needs to acquire in order to improve literacy
  • Uses “leveled†readers – books written according to standardized criteria that help teachers gauge a student’s particular level of literacy development
  • Parallels the comprehensive Balanced Literacy Approach, in which shared reading, guided reading, independent reading, writing, and word work all play a role in developing students’ language arts skills
  • Most educators are using a tedious paper-based assessment method to complete Running Records, which involves stacks of papers and allows for teacher errors.

What is mClass Reading Software?

The mClass Reading software for grades K-3 allows the teacher to use a handheld computer to complete a reading assessment with an individual child one to one. The data is then transferred to a secure website and the teacher can then retrieve information both for individual students and for overall class reading level. This allows the teacher to to be more effective by changing classroom instruction.

How does it work?

  1. The teacher selects what type of mClass Reading assessment to complete.
    -Reading Records
  2. The teacher then selects a student to assess from a dropdown class list. The classes are generated from the school database and uploaded by the company.
  3. The teacher selects an e-book leveled reader to be downloaded to the handheld device from the Wireless Generations website.
  4. The teacher records her observations by scrolling and tapping on the handheld computer screen as the student reads from the printed book.
  5. When the assessment is complete, the teacher taps “Done†and the handheld displays a detailed graph for analysis.
  6. To record progress over time and to acquire a more detailed analysis report, the teacher performs a HotSync operation with a desktop computer to a secure database on the web. These reports calculate accurate data, provide instant feedback, and can even generate a parent letter with suggestions on how to improve reading fluency at home.


Wireless Generations Literacy Library

It contains over 3000 leveled E-books, including 500+ Spanish titles, by familiar vendors such as: Reading A –Z, Sundance, Bebop, and the Wright Group. It supports four of the most common leveling systems: DRA, Letter Levels, Wright Group, and Reading Recovery and Early Intervention.

mClass Reading provides 3 Assessment Choices:

1. Reading Record Assessment:
To record miscues or errors, the teacher taps the word and then taps one of these miscue codes: SUB=substitution; O=omission; SC=self corrects; Told=teacher told; TTA=teacher told to try again; V=insertion (here the teacher writes the word directly on the handheld screen). If the student does not make an error, the teacher just scrolls by the text.

After completing the Reading Record, the teacher can then perform an MSV analysis to decide what kind of miscues were made: Meaning, Syntax, or Visual. Use MSV to diagnose errors the reader makes in Running Records. MSV will provide information or cues to help define what reading instruction is needed, which will assist each child to become a more strategic reader. This will allow for lessons to be individualized and tailored for each child’s needs.

2. Accuracy/Fluency Assessment:
The teacher may use this assessment with students who are fluent readers. The text from the book does not appear on the screen but the teacher can mark quickly on the handheld to record Accuracy rate, Error rate, and Self Correction Rate. This provides quick feedback about the students reading ability.

Fluency and comprehension are both necessary for a competent reader. The goal of a Reading Record is to assess reading fluency. As a child struggles to decode or make meaning of words, comprehension suffers. By analyzing errors and self-corrections with Reading Records, you can learn a great deal about the child’s reading behaviors and decoding strategies.

3. Comprehension Assessment Component:
After the student reads the book, the teacher scores the student in all four key areas: Literal, Inference, Critical and Creative. By tapping “i†for more information, the following guiding questions and an explanation of the rubric scoring are displayed. Comprehension Results gives an overall score and a web-based graph based on a 1-4 scaled rubric.





Key Concepts

Characters, setting, problem, plot detail

Connects details of story, grasps implicit meaning

Evaluates story information and meaning

Imagination sparked by story

Questions To Ask

  • What is this book about?
  • What is the most important information?
  • What did you learn?
  • What details help you know that?
  • What did you learn from the pictures or charts?
  • Did you like the book? Why?
  • What questions do you still have about…?
  • What else would you like to learn about this?
  • Can you relate the book to your life?
  • Can you make a picture inspired by the book?

Rubric Scoring Level (1-4)

  • #1-Can't identify main idea, ideas are inaccurate, even with prompting
  • #2-Requires prompting, limited sense of main idea, some inaccuracies
  • #3-Adequately explains main idea, but limited detail without prompting
  • #4-Full grasp of main idea with no prompting required
  • #1-Does not describe any details
  • #2-Requires prompting to produce a few supporting details
  • #3-Adequate detail without prompting, connects details to main idea
  • #4-Grasps details and how they are connected. Uses pictures, charts, etc.
  • #1-No opinions, inferences or insights
  • #2- With prompting expresses opinions and makes inferences
  • #3-Has opinions and can express response to the book
  • #4-Thoroughly responsive to and opinionated about the book
  • #1-Does not connect the book to anything else
  • #2-With prompting can make loose connections to things outside the book
  • #3-Connects the book to own life, considers related ideas
  • #4-Makes sensitive connections to own life, prior knowledge, new questions

Lexington Elementary School’s data-driven goal was to move students into the Advanced and Proficient categories in ELA and to reduce the numbers of students scoring in the Below Basic category. What we found was that linking current, on-going reading assessment to daily instruction using mobile technology, could accelerate the learning of all students.

What our teachers say about using this mobile technology?
“Prior to using mClass I carried around a stack of folders, a calculator and a spreadsheet chart to find out information about the students reading level. Usually I would do this at home because of the time it took to analyze the data. Now mClass provides instant feedback that helps tailor my instruction for each individual student.â€

“I now have more time to plan instruction rather than spending my time juggling paperwork and it is helping my assessment to be more consistent.â€

“mClass Reading has improved my frequency of doing Running Record assessment, which will improve my instructional process.â€

“The ease of the one on one assessment has helped me to meet my students needs on an individual basis. The parent letters provide important information which communicate the reading level of their child and how parents can help with the learning at home.â€

“mClass makes sense; it takes much less time to complete the assessment on the handheld than using the paper and pencil method. The instant feedback makes it easier to individualize instruction.â€

Email: Wendy Gallagher



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