Tag Archives: Ehrenworth

TCRWP: Performance Assessments in Reading


I was totally fascinated by Mary Ehrenworth’s closing, “The Common Core Asks Us  to Teach Higher Level Comprehension: Performance Assessments and Learning Progressions” on Monday, July 1 on the first day of the Reading Institute.

We began with talking with a partner about assessments that were currently in use in our districts and then Mary began her presentation that was filled with student examples containing both writing and video evidence of reading comprehension.

Mary did caution us to not make running records be the “know all, be all” for every kind of assessment. They are perfect for matching students to books but perhaps not the tool that should be used for measuring growth in comprehension. And especially not to measure growth in comprehension that would be aligned with the Common Core.

In a nutshell, here is the framework Mary proposed:

Reading Performance Assessments

1.  Formal, grade and school wide Information and Argument writing (K-10)

2.  Use checklists to set goals and raise levels

3. Reading notebooks

4. Calibrate expectations across grade level and try making a checklist”

Mary wrote this list during the presentation on a piece of paper under the document camera complete with subheadings (no power point here) so errors in reporting would be mine.

A specific reference to Hattie, his book Visible Learning, and the power of specific feedback had me revisiting my notes from our #educoach book study in the summer of 2012.  How do students get that feedback?  I  now know that in writing, the learning progressions authored by Lucy Calkins and the TCWRP staff will provide just that feedback in the form of the checklists available.

Two more gems from Mary:

“Rubrics are for teachers; checklists are for students.”

“If you can say it on a checklist, kids can do it.  If you can’t say it on a checklist, kids cannot do it!”

The use of a Reader’s Notebook as a performance assessment was new to me.  Having specific goals in terms of checklists or a learning progression would enable both the teacher and the student to “see” progress in deepening comprehension.  Having targets would also ensure the likelihood of student success.  The premise is both exciting and exhilarating in the forward march to meet the increased demands under the Common Core.

Are you using a Reader’s Notebook as a performance assessment?  How might that be used to document increased student comprehension? (grades 3 and above)

Your thoughts are greatly appreciated!

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