Using Assessment to Guide Your Teaching

We know from research that it is important to make careful observations and assessments of our students and to use this information to inform our teaching.  When put into practice, what should our teaching look like?  How can we keep track of all the assessment data to interpret and plan for student needs?

We begin by:

  •     Providing a stimulating and engaging classroom that allows for observation, sharing, talk, and risk-taking.
  •     Provide opportunities for students to read and write daily.
  •     Read to your students daily, even once they are able to read on their own.
  •     Develop lessons that are meaningful to students, and that will showcase what they know and what they need to continue working on.
  •     Make regular and thoughtful assessments about your students' progress and abilities.
  •     Take special consideration of areas to improve on, and provide many and varied opportunities for the students to work on those areas.

It is essentially a cyclical process.  As we learn about student interests, strengths, and weaknesses, we can focus our planning even more, while continuing to touch on the six elements above.

Keeping track of the assessment data can be the next hurdle.  Over the years I have used  many data collection tools to varying degrees of success.  I developed the reading and Writing Development Data forms for a couple of reasons:

  •     To have an accurate picture of student strengths.
  •     To work with students in making good choices about goal setting, based on where they are right now and where we'd like them to go.

I also want the information of my whole class to be on one page so that I can see at a glance the areas that the group is managing well with, and areas that need more focus.  By using these forms you will be able to decide how to focus your instruction.  Teaching should be as individualized as possible.  It is not in the best interest of the students to spend a huge amount of time on a strategy that perhaps only one or two students need to work on.  These forms will help you plan for whole group, small group, and individual instruction in both reading and writing.

Click on the links below to access the Reading and Writing Development Data Forms and descriptions of how to use them.

Reading | Writing