by Anne-Evan Williams, LGL Director of Educational Development
With formal assessment taking the lead under No Child Left Behind, teachers are busy preparing their students for annual standardized tests and finding formal assessment measures to help judge student progress at benchmarks along the way. But it's important not to forget the importance of informal assessment in monitoring student growth and achievement.
Simply watching our students as they read is one of the easiest ways to chronicle small achievements throughout the year. Not every student achievement will be measurable with a formal reading assessment. And teachers know the subtle nuances of each child. Being watchful is an effective way to monitor students' behavior as they read.
Student teachers from Wake Forest University are being given an edge up on informal assessment. They are being provided with Smartphones to quickly take notes on their students and easily transfer that information to their computers for later use. The university is hopeful that this will encourage student teachers to remember the importance of a few quick notes on each student as they read.
According to an article on the WFU site, "The student teachers can also use the devices to take photos of student work, make audio recordings of students reading, and make video clips of class presentations. One student teacher has taken pictures of students in class and sent them directly to her e-mail account to include in her regular newsletter to parents."
Documenting student reading behavior has always been a challenge, and with the stress now on formal reading assessments, it's important to remember that reading is a distinctly personal process--and to remember that we're not teaching reading; we're teaching children.
Tags: reading assessment, informal assessment, montoring student growth, monitoring achievement