Dear Assessments, I don’t believe you!

So, today, I sort of slogged into class. I had semi-discouraging one-on-one conferences during interventions with my students as I broke the news to many of them that they were 4-6 years below grade-level in reading.

But then, during our talks and observations over the novel, I realized no wait, these kids DO know.

Maybe they’re just assessment’d out, or reading practice’d out, or.. y’know, lazy.

I’m going to go by what I know and what I’ve experienced… which is that, these kids can’t be/aren’t that low.  If they have a so-called 1st-grade independent reading level and a 4th-grade vocabulary level, then having a teacher guide them through a 5th grade book is still okay.  And based on their fluency, their participation, etc, I don’t think all of them are as “low” as the programs claim.

I *will* be cutting back a bit and allowing more practice time in class.  But at the same time, I can’t just get all down that my students are “so low”, because I don’t think they are as low as the assessments purport.

On the same vein though, I just feel like I’m doing a super cruddy job.  But, I think back to what I covered with my kids last year, and I have to remind myself that I basically ended with 9th graders, and now I’m starting with semi-7th graders.  We are not there yet, but we can be.  Also, I had 90 minutes of ELA and 60 minutes of Social Studies. Every. Day.  That’s a total of 750 minutes a week.  Whereas at this school, it’s a more normal 470 minutes a week (but with 125 minutes of silent independent reading and 120 minutes of reading practice through Reading Plus).

I’m not a huge fan of smart computers teaching kids how to read, but maybe expertly navigating this data and having kids buy in with the right competition and such, could cover that space where it’s “good enough”.

And year by year, I’ll extend from the “good enough” to “FREAKING FANTASTIC!”


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