Sunday, May 3, 2015

How to Write a Reading Assessment Which Supports CCSS

How I Start and End with a Standard 4RL6

When I teach a standard, I begin with the skills that the students need to know to master it successfully. My school district has deconstructed the standards, and grade levels have created "I Can" statements which give teachers an idea what the students need to know. These are the "I Can" statements for 4RL6 that I will be using. Once I have reviewed the "I Can" statements and understand what they mean, then I begin to create an assessment.


Creating an assessment can be an overwhelming task. If you follow this simple rule of test making your task will be much easier and you will cover all parts of DOK (Depth of Knowledge) including Level 4 which is application of the standard. 

Test Making Rule...Start simple, scaffold questions that build the skills and help you determine what students know, and end with complex thinking.

I ask myself questions when I create student assessments starting with simple.

1. What do they need to know first? These recall and knowledge level questions. Create that assessment piece.

2. What do they need to apply second and what skills do I need to teach? These are reading questions that students use skills to apply their knowledge. Create that assessment piece.

3. What do they need to apply third and what skills do I need to teach? These are skill and strategy questions that are more complex. Create that assessment piece.

4. What do they need to be able to successfully complete at the end? If they can't complete 1, 2, and 3 they will struggle with the last part of the assessement. The last part of the assessment will be a constructed response question based on text.

This is an example of 2 pages of what my assessment looks like for 4RL6. It takes the students about 30-40 minutes to complete, and it gives me great information that helps me determine what they know, where I need to start my lessons, and what I need to teach. Also this assessment can be broken apart and you can choose which pieces to use with your students. This assessment will be available for the 2015 - 2016 school year.

A Few Point of View Lessons...

I created my assessment, gave the assessment and graded it. I used that data to drive my instruction. I found out that my students didn't understand the vocabulary, but could identify the narrator of the story. I also found out that some students already knew what point of view was because it was previously discussed through close reads and small group instruction. But as you can see from the data, students did not master this skill through previous methods with only 5 in the 81% or higher and 17 students at 80% or lower. ( I knew that was going to happen.) The part that students bombed was the application of the skill with constructed response writing. This was obviously going to be a major focus. I separated the test into 2 parts, test and constructed response. I graded the response with a rubric.

My first lesson was all about vocabulary and learning the terms. We did this with our Interactive Reading Notebooks. Students learned the vocabulary of that standard with a focus on first and third person point of view. We also put in a part that shows the point of view as first or third, along with text evidence as proof. These lessons were done in parts, not all at once. Pictured below is an example of what this looked like. The material below is from my 4th grade Interactive Notebook Reading Literature 2015 edition. This will be available for the 2015-2016 school year.

I also created an Anchor Poster for my students to refer to and we posted the covers of books we read together as a class to determine point of view. I began reading The Three Little Pigs and the Big, Bad Wolf and then we read The True Story of the Three Little Pigs so students learned how to determine who is the narrator and what is the point of view. This was a super simple lessson and the students enjoyed it. Remember to pull your students into the lesson with text they will enjoy.

Another lesson that my students participated in was a Point of View Scoot activity thanks to Rachel Lynette and her task cards. I purchased these from TeachersPayTeachers, printed and cut them out. Students played scoot and practiced reading 24 different pieces of text and determined the point of view as first or third. Students reported out and proved the point of view by sharing text evidence. They also had an opportunity to rewrite the point of view as first or third. This is shown in the picture below. 

The last part of teaching point of view was the constructed response. Students needed to be able to determine the point of view...easy, and then explain how the story would change if it was written in a different point of view...difficult. What would we learn about the characters? How would the characters change if the point of view was different?

I taught them how to be a detective by making a Claim, finding Support - Evidence, and then Interpreting what that means. We used different colors to show that we had all parts of a constructed response. I also created organizers for the students to use which helps to scaffold instruction and guide their writing with their thoughts. We read the story The Talking Eggs and wrote a constructed response. Students also practiced this by reading short passages and writing a response. These organizers will be available for the 2015 - 2016 school year.


This is very difficult for students to complete. Let's be real for a moment and remember that not all of your students are going to be able to do's not possible with all the different levels in a classroom. So you really need to scaffold your writing at the beginning of the year. I used a lot of mind map organizers to help students brainstorm. Some of my students still need that type of support and some still need small group one to one instruction with writing. I do what I can, and as long as they are improving on the post test that shows growth. The bell curve is real and the majority will be right in the middle. So if I can move my red kids to orange or yellow, shown from the data chart above, that is an improvement. If they don't move then something is going on with my teaching or something is happening with the students and their testing.

Final Assessment

I administered my final assessment and the students were very successful. Unfortunately I don't have a photo of the results, but I listed them below.

81% or higher - 17 students
61% - 80% - 6 students

This was growth when you compare this to the pre-test.

Constructed Response

81% or higher - 12 students
61% - 80% - 8 students
41% - 60% - 2 students

This was also growth when you compare this to the pre-test. 

Best of luck and I hope this helps you!