I just did reading assessments all day long on top of celebrating birthdays and having kindergarten day.
The easiest way for me is to give them a chunk of something we’ve read lately, or in two classes, the poem or song we’ve been doing. In one class, there has been a marked falling-off of attention to songs, so we played our song as usual and then I had them gesture the chorus of the song to partners in the paired situation. They had to read the words and help the partner say them (the meaning was beneath the words) and then switch places. I had a pretty good idea that some of the kids who finished early hadn’t really done the activity. It was kind of mean, but I wanted to see whether I was right. I posted just that chorus and asked them to translate. If they got the gist of the meaning right (only four lines, with two of our target structures in them), they got their “meets standards,” a B. If they got a lot of the words right but didn’t seem to get the meaning, they got a “progressing,” a C. If they got both the gist and the non high-frequency words (three of them in the chorus), they got an A. If there were a number of unconnected words, that was a “beginning,” or a D. Basically, it was the kids who’ve been singing along and who participated in our practice who met or exceeded standards. I’ll have a little talk with them on Monday to drive home the point. I was pretty bummed by the number of kids who didn’t do well. My usual test practice is to drop any assessment that 80% of the class doesn’t get 80% on, and I’ll follow that, but I’m going to tell them that I think it’s my fault for not being on top of discipline. I’ll keep the scores for the meets and exceeds groups. But that doesn’t mean I don’t personally think it’s their fault. Grrr. Hate it when the traditional teacher in me wants to take over and let them fail, but I also sit at meetings and grumble in irritation when a math or science teacher announces that his kids had an average of 34% on the last test and he’s letting the grades stand. I always want to ask whether it isn’t the teacher at fault. So I know that I’m at fault in some way. Motivation, interest, discipline. One of those was not part of that lesson.
The level 1 (with 2’s) had to do a mural of the reading and then point to the part of the mural that showed each phrase as I read it. I could pretty much tell who had complete murals and who could understand. The difficult part is that the newbies need to get a grade for listening comprehension, and the level 1 kids need a grade for reading comprehension, but because I read it out loud for the newbies, they might have just used their listening. It’s a little hard to work that differentiation for the Zangle program. The level 2’s had to read what was there and extend the reading while the others were drawing. They did that beautifully, and because there’s a different entry system for the different year levels in my computer grading system, I can make it be both a reading and writing grade.
And in the advanced class, they had to translate the poems we’ve been reading. Same grading procedure as the intermediate class with songs, but only a couple of kids bombed. Most did way better than I’d expected.
It’s so interesting grading this way. I have to ask myself, “What are the most important structures they can take from this poem or song?” “What structures have we used so that it’s reasonable for them to remember?” “Which words are real “stretch words” that I can’t truly expect everyone to get?” and “What constitutes meaning in a translation?” It’s not a “percentage of words translated right.”