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Language Arts Assessment Overview


There are 6 strands of standards in the Common Core State Standards for Language Arts: Writing, Reading Foundational Skills, Standards for Literature, Reading Standards for Informational Text, Language Standards, and Speaking & Listening Standards. Each strand has one or more assessments.

1. Reading Foundational Skills:

Letter ID-Sound Assessment: We show uppercase and lowercase letters of the alphabet in random order and ask children to identify the letter and the sound(s) it makes. This assessment is mostly for kindergartners and any new first graders. Once the child reaches 100% accuracy on this assessment, it is not repeated.

High Frequency Word Reading: A child is shown high frequency words. We make note of which words the child can read fluently. We conduct this assessment several times a year to measure progress. It is ideal for first graders to be able to read all 100 of these words by the end of the year and for kindergartners to read 5-20 of these words.

Running Records: The children are given a book they have not previously read and are asked to read it the best they can without help. We subtract the number of reading errors from the total number of words the book contains. That number is divided by the total number of words and multiplied by 100 to obtain an accuracy rate. By the end of the year first graders are expected to read an unfamiliar, grade level text with a minimum of 95% accuracy in word recognition. This assessment helps us determine which reading level of books is best to provide your child for reading instruction during reading workshop. Reading levels A-C are typical of kindergarten children while levels C-I are more typical of first grade children.

Phonemic Awareness Assessment: This is an assessment given orally that asks children to blend and segment phonemes, produce rhyming words, and distinguish long from short vowels. Phonemic awareness is key to learning how to read, so we monitor their progress with this assessment throughout the year.

2. Writing:

Writing Workshop Checklist: When we finish a writing workshop unit, we will send home the work your child generated along with a checklist of skills that they are developing in writing workshop. These skills are marked either as “not yet,” “developing,” or mastered.” Mastery of the skills from the checklist is not expected until the end of year, so don’t be alarmed if you see skills that are not yet mastered. In addition, we note your child’s stage of development in spelling and indicate which level of narrative writing your child is functioning at. This information is sent home at least 4 times a year.

Writing Samples: We take several writing samples throughout the school year and score them using a narrative writing rubric. Looking at these samples helps us analyze the child’s progress and informs what type of instruction to focus on next to further writing development along the continuum. We will share these writing samples with you at conferences.

Words I Know: The children are given 10-15 minutes to write down all the words they think they know how to spell correctly. Some children may start the year only knowing how to spell their name, but as we do this assessment several times a year, every child’s repertoire of conventionally spelled words increases.

3. Standards for Literature:

Informal Assessment: The standards for literature are assessed informally through group discussions as we read and respond to literature.

Narrative/Fictional Book Project: This book project assesses the ability to retell narrative/fictional text. It is scored according to a rubric. The children will practice these skills at school well before the project to assess them is due. This is prepared at home. Directions will be sent out at a later date.

4. Reading Standards for Informational Text:

Informal Assessment: Reading standards for informational text are assessed informally through group discussions as we read and respond to informational text.

Informational/Non-Fiction Book Project: This book project assesses the ability to summarize key details in informational texts. It is scored according to a rubric. The children will practice these skills at school well before the project to assess them is due. This is prepared at home. Directions will be sent out at a later date.

5. Speaking and Listening Standards:

Theme Projects: We informally assess your child’s ability to speak and listen to others in the context of sharing theme projects with classmates. Group theme projects occur throughout the year and provide an opportunity for children to use their speaking and listening skills as they share what they have learned with each other.

Very Important Person: We use the VIP routine to informally assess children’s ability to speak and listen to each other. Sharing personally meaningful things in the context of VIP invites regular practice with these important skills.

6. Language Standards:

Language Journal with Checklist: Oral and written conventions along with vocabulary acquisition will be documented in a language journal and monitored with a checklist of skills. Direct instruction lessons that address these skills will be incorporated into our word study structure the latter half of the school and any written activities will be completed in the language journal. At the end of the year, you will receive the journal along with a checklist of skills to be developed from these lessons indicating how your child is performing on each of these skills.

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