Mrs. Zider's First Grade..."Diving into Learning Fun!"
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Assesments in my classroom drive my instruction and help me differentiate the curriculum for my students. I want to teach each student in his/her zone of proximal development so that he/she is being challenged to make the most growth possible in first grade. Not only do I want to be sure that I am challenging my students; I want to be sure that I am also providing remediation when necessary. Since we have a standards based report card, I can truly teach the state standards through district curriculum maps and not be confined by publishers or contrived curriculum. Below are some assessments I use to both check mastery of subject matter and to be sure each student is being taught at the level appropriate to him/her.
Additionally, our school is driven by the RTI (Response to Intervention) framework of instruction so that assessing serves to enable IDM (Instructional Decision Making) for all children. With IDM "we use data to determine student needs and create appropriate interventions to support student success academically and behaviorally."** At-risk learners are especially helped by both RTI and IDM as we can check on their response to interventions so that changes can be made if their current program is not delivering a positive outcome in achievement.
Rigby Reading Assessments are given to determine each child's entry level instructional reading level. This helps us form guided groups that meet each child's needs. Our Reading Den program also makes use of this data. I also use these levels to determine BRAG Book independent levels for this take-home reading program.
We also use the AIMS Web benchmark assessments to test students and to check achievement. We give CBM's (Curriculum Based Measures) in the areas of math and early literacy skills. The Math CBM consists of a two minute addition and subtraction fact test that is normed to show how students are doing in math when they enter first grade. Their progress with facts helps predict math achievement for the rest of the year.The ELM (Early Literacy Measures) test each child on letter sound fluency, letter naming fluency, and phoneme segmentation. This data helps determine which children are at grade level, need enrichment, and need remediation.
Running Records are given weekly to determine appropriate instructional levels for reading.
Spelling Tests are given weekly.
Fundations Unit tests are given every two or three weeks when unit are completed.
Math Chapter tests are given as math chapters are completed. We also give a pre-test before each chapter to check on prior knowledge. This helps in formation of guided math groups.
All of the above assessments stay in place.
A Reading Fluency (words per minute) benchmark assessment is also added. Progress Monitoring begins for at risk readers. This is a fluency test delivered every two weeks to see if interventions are working.
One Minute Math assessments begin 2nd semester in January for the majority of students.
We also administer the Iowa Test of Basic Skills (ITBS) and Cognitive Abilities Test (CogAT) which are standardized tests given to all students in our district.
All of the above assessments stay in place with the exception of the ELM tests which are only given to at risk learners if the classroom teacher wants to measure growth for the year. The standardized tests are also not repeated.
A year end Word Wall test and year end word family test are also given.
(**Source of quote: "VVSD Instructional Decision Making" brochure)