Assess More to Improve Learning: Regular Measurement of Learning and the Subsequent Adjustment to Instruction Promote Higher Levels of Student Achievement

By O'Donovan, Eamonn | District Administration, August 2008 | Go to article overview
Save to active project

Assess More to Improve Learning: Regular Measurement of Learning and the Subsequent Adjustment to Instruction Promote Higher Levels of Student Achievement


O'Donovan, Eamonn, District Administration


The Richard Henry Dana Elementary School in Dana Point, Calif., houses 385 students on a bluff overlooking the Pacific Ocean. The demographics of the school would suggest a challenging scenario for raising student achievement: 78 percent of students participate in the free or reduced-price lunch program, and 59 percent of the students are English Language Learners. Yet by any measure, the students at this school demonstrate admirable growth in all areas assessed on California standardized tests. The overall Academic Performance Index (API) for the school has grown from 704 to 806 in two years (800 is the benchmark of excellence for the state). The data is even more impressive when disaggregated for subgroups of students: Hispanic/Latino students showed a 39 point gain, students from the disadvantaged socioeconomic subgroup gained 33 points, and the API for English Language Learners jumped 43 points.

Principal Chris Weber attributes this improvement to the use of assessment data to target instruction and intervention for all students at the school, particularly those below grade level in math and reading. California standardized test data is the end-point and is used to set goals and targets. It is one year-end measure of student performance, a summative assessment of learning. However, Weber and his staff use assessment data to guide instruction during the learning process. His teachers measure learning as it happens, guiding instruction in real time. This progress monitoring is conducted with a variety of formal and informal reading inventories, benchmark or periodic assessments, and teacher-made tests.

[ILLUSTRATION OMITTED]

Learning from DIBELS

For example, primary grade teachers use Dynamic Indicator of Basic Early Literacy Skills (DIBELS), an assessment system used to measure student progress in the big ideas of early literacy development. It is designed to be a one-minute fluency measure to regularly monitor the development of pre-reading and early reading skills. These quick assessments provide benchmark measures at the beginning, middle and end of the school year.

Weber asserts that the best way to evaluate the reading ability of students is to listen to them read. His teachers use the Qualitative Reading Inventory, 4th Edition (QRI-4), to informally assess fluency and comprehension in reading for each individual student. The QRI-4 is administered between the DIBELS assessments to get a running record of student reading. Data from each assessment is analyzed by a data team to design reading intervention for each individual student. As the assessments are frequent, student instruction is modified in a timely manner.

This regular assessment and resultant adjustment of instruction was a big change for Weber's teachers. To get the ball rolling, he started doing the progress monitoring himself. He would go into classrooms, conduct the inventories, put data into a spreadsheet, match the scores with content standards, and place students into intervention activities. He structured the daily assignment of reading intervention staff so that students could rotate into activities during scheduled reading groups. As teachers saw the growth in student learning in targeted instruction, they took over the process themselves.

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Sign up now for a free, 1-day trial and receive full access to:

  • Questia's entire collection
  • Automatic bibliography creation
  • More helpful research tools like notes, citations, and highlights
  • Ad-free environment

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
Loading One moment ...
Project items
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

Cited article

Assess More to Improve Learning: Regular Measurement of Learning and the Subsequent Adjustment to Instruction Promote Higher Levels of Student Achievement
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

While we understand printed pages are helpful to our users, this limitation is necessary to help protect our publishers' copyrighted material and prevent its unlawful distribution. We are sorry for any inconvenience.
Full screen

matching results for page

Cited passage

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

Cited passage

Welcome to the new Questia Reader

The Questia Reader has been updated to provide you with an even better online reading experience.  It is now 100% Responsive, which means you can read our books and articles on any sized device you wish.  All of your favorite tools like notes, highlights, and citations are still here, but the way you select text has been updated to be easier to use, especially on touchscreen devices.  Here's how:

1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
2. Click or tap the last word you want to select.

OK, got it!

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.

Are you sure you want to delete this highlight?