Tuesday, November 13, 2012

How Can You Assess Jottings?

My school district uses a percentage value to determine grades.  My literacy teammate and I had to spend some time at the end of the Lucy Calkins Unit 2: Following Characters Into Meaning deciding how we would assess our students.  In the past we would give a common assessment comprised of a few passages with some comprehension questions at the end. They would receive a grade based on how many questions they got right. But within a balanced literacy framework our assessments would need to change. We had to ask, "how do we assess the students at their own levels using jottings we have been using throughout this unit?"

This is what we came up with as our Jottings Assessment:

We chose fiction passages that had strong characters.  We chose a 1st grade passage, 2nd grade passage, 3rd grade passage, and 4th grade passage to reflect our students' reading levels. The passages are from HaveFunTeaching.com (next time though we plan to use the leveled passages from The Teacher's College Reading and Writing Project which we learned about after the assessment). Reading A to Z is also another good site to get leveled passages.

On the back of each passage was a sticky note labeled with the four strategies and skills the students had been using in their jottings during their fiction reading--envision, empathy, predicting, character traits. Each student read two passages and responded by writing their jottings on the sticky note templates.

Even my 3rd grade student who is at a Guided Reading Level A was able to be assessed. He dictated his responses to a scribe. My nonverbal student with cerebral palsey listened to her passage and pointed to picture responses that were recorded.

We created a rubric using Rubistar to score the students' jottings with a point value giving us our required percentage grade. Click here to download the rubric. We saved the entire assessment into student folders so that we could use them as talking points during parent conferences. The students really enjoyed the assessment. Afterwards they said it didn't seem like a test because they were just reading and jotting like always!

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