Our literacy coach lexiled the assessments and when she came back with the lexiles…I was horrified. 🙁 Many were as high as third grade. Completely unacceptable. 🙁 The basal series encouraged teachers to attempt to get students to read the assessments independently by the mid point of the year. Lexile scores give me information about the sentence structure and rigor of the text. Even if I gave my kids enough schema to understand some of what they were reading on test day, I don’t think it’s fair to them to test above their grade level. Have YOUR literacy coach lexile those tests! 🙁 It’s really bad, guys. 🙁
So…I got to writing my own! 🙂
Well, I wrote assessments just like my fluencies at first. When I tried them out in my classroom, the kids did okay. I could tell it was hard. The texts were the right level, but…there was something missing. My next step was to beta test them with other teachers on my grade level. A few of them asked if I could make some changes. I shortened the test and made the font bigger. I broke the text up into specific sections and then I added pictures to go with each section to support the students’ understanding. One of my dearest bloggy sisters ever, Tammy Wathen from The Resourceful Apple has several ESE/ESOL students this year, she suggested a page with words from the text that she could use to support her learners in a small group setting. I added that too! 🙂
I feel passionately that the second half of the year in first grade needs to be about building independent on-grade level readers. This is our second year using this series, and we hit Unit 4 about this same time last year as well, so when I wrote the tests, I wrote them for what I felt an ON GRADE LEVEL reader at THIS TIME of the year should be able to read independently.
That said, I wrote with a band in mind…so, this unit has tests that could work for a month behind, or a month ahead of this time of year.
In short, YES. Let me explain why. In this tool, I highlight the sight words given to me with our program. I also write with the phonetic progression in mind. The comprehension tests are written with an on grade level, skill based approach. This means that the questions will tie into specific standards. So, if the test says Main Idea…there will be questions that relate to that. I tried to make as many of the questions as I could text dependent, but there are also implicit questions as well. On texts where there are more implicit questions, I tried to lower the lexile so that I wasn’t *dinging* the kids with the rigor of the text AND the questions. Can you tell I REALLY thought about these? LOL! 🙂 So…yes, I think you COULD use them with other series or as your primary assessment tool if you were creating your own resources for your learners in first.
Yes, you can use this to take grades. At our school we do differentiated INSTRUCTION, not assessment, so…all of the kids take the exact same test across the grade level. We sit as a team and decide how we want to approach the test that week, so that all of the kids have the exact same opportunity in each classroom. If you’ve never done a test like this before, I would scaffold.
We’ve played around with lots of ways to give these. Having them read only two paragraphs and then reading the questions TO THEM…going over the word list and letting them read independently. You know your kids, so, do different things until you feel that the kids can read all of it by themselves. Remember both the text and questions were written for the kids to eventually be able to read them ALL on their own. 🙂 I usually grade out of eight…with the last question being worth two points.
Without a doubt, if you are looking for daily/nightly fluency practice….the fluency passages in my store are the direction you want to go. I turned these tests into fluency passages as well because I know that there are some teachers that don’t have a system in their classroom, and I thought an on grade level passage would give great data to a teacher in that position! My kids already do a nightly timing, so I don’t want to over assess. If you already use my fluency resources and you get this too, I would only do ONE timing with this piece per unit. Just for your own files. Pick any one that reflects the level your students should be on at that time of year.