My students complete a total of five to six reading assessments per year, these are administered by myself as their classroom teacher. In September we use the DART test in conjunction with the previous year’s reading levels to determine which students need running record using the Fontas and Pinnell assessment kit within the first few weeks of school. Typically, in September we will do a running record with our ELL students on the resource caseload or with IEP’s and any student who came up as developing or emerging on the September dart assessment. At the end of the first term typically mid to late November I then do the Fontas and Pinnell assessments with the entire class one to one , while this is not required for every student it is expected for students who are not yet meeting expectations and to confirm proficiency for students who you may be questioning. The information from these two external reading assessments that look at both accuracy and fluency as well as comprehension are used for instructional purposes within the classroom. Our results from the running records are used to form small reading groups or book clubs. I find that our reading assessments are helpful instructional tools to point me in the right direction for starting with the students reading.
Students reading assessments are primarily a formative tool allowing teachers to structure and tailor reading instruction to the needs of the students in the classroom. They do become summative at the end of the year when we submit our final reading levels to the school office, and this is so that we can look at trends overtime and a cross grade level groups to target supports going forward. These assessments generally are low stakes , while reading assessments may be part of what we consider when assessing students for an end of term or end of year report card they are not the only factor. A reading assessment does become higher stakes for an individual when we’re looking at a at a pattern of limited progress over a period of time this is then used to determine next steps in involving our resource team doing further screening assessments and potential referral to the school psychologist for a psycho educational assessment.