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Whitney Raeon

12/06/13
EPS 513
Final Paper
For this assignment, I used data that was collected during the CPS Quarterly
Assessment given at the conclusion of quarter one. The assessment was given in the
hallway outside of the kindergarten classrooms at Howe School of Excellence in the
Austin neighborhood by myself, my co-resident, and my mentor. It was given to four to
six students at a time and scored individually. The CPS Quarter One Assessment
assessed reading comprehension and the ability to use evidence from the text to
support their answers.
Reading comprehension and the ability to support ones answer with evidence
from the text have become important pushes we have for the kindergarten students at
Howe. As a result, the teachers use reading mini lessons, read alouds, in-the-moment
assessments and follow ups to ensure that reading comprehension is a skill that is
acquired by our students. The results of the CPS Quarterly Assessment provide us with
data that helps us drive unit planning, lesson planning, teaching, in-the-moment
assessment and follow-up so our students can demonstrate improved year-end
results (Bambrick-Santoyo, p.11). The assessment provides us with information about
students that are able to, and unable to, remember the events in a story and provide
evidence from the story to support their answers. From there, we are able to strategize
and plan exactly what areas and forms of instruction all of our students will benefit from.
Since we are aware that reading comprehension and the use of text evidence are
evaluated by the CPS Quarterly Assessment in grades K-8, our lesson planning at
Howe in the subject of reading has changed. We do not just teach reading
comprehension and supporting your answer with evidence from the text, we emphasize
them. As stated above, several teaching strategies are used to teach and assess
reading comprehension and the ability to use evidence from the text to support
answers. My favorite form of assessment for these skills is during independent reading
time. During this time, the students read books of varying levels so it is a great time to
ask them comprehension questions. My mentor, co-resident, and I try to conference
with at least three students during this time. This gives us an opportunity to conduct in-
the-moment assessments and follow-ups to support and extend our students learning.
The reliability, validity, and consequential validity of this assessment are varied. I
say this because there are numerous factors that affect these three things. The
reliability of the Quarterly Assessment is positive. The same seven questions were
asked to all of the students. Therefore, the assessment was reliable in that it did not
change from student to student depending on their previously assessed reading or
achievement level. Next, the validity of the assessment is sound based on the questions
relating only to the text, Frog and Toad Together: A List, and require students to support
their answers with evidence only from the text that was read. However, validity can be
questioned because the book that was required to be read and the questions that had to
be answered, required some background knowledge that I am not sure some of the
students had. As a result, those students were not able to understand the events in the
book and apply that knowledge to answer the questions. For example, question number
one asks, Why did Toad make a list? If this was the first time that some of the students
had seen or heard of a list, it would be difficult for them to answer this question correctly
because they would be learning what a list is for the first time when the story was read.
Out of the 28 students that were assessed, only 18 students answered question one
correctly. That means that 10 students answered the seemingly simple question wrong.
You can see the results of the assessment below in Figure 1. The results of the
assessment make me think that some of it was not valid in truly assessing the ability of
all of the students due to their lack of background knowledge. In addition, the scoring of
the test allows room for subjectivity since examples of acceptable answers were not
provided and scorers may have different ideas on what is an acceptable answer or not.


Figure 1: This graph shows the amount of students that answered each of the
seven questions on the CPS Quarterly Reading Comprehension Assessment
correctly.



Finally, in regards to the consequential validity of the Quarterly Assessment on
the students, it is minimal. The students who did poorly and/or well on the assessment,
tend to perform similarly in other subjects as well. As a result, we have already
established methods of supporting each student. For example, we make sure that we
in-the-moment assess and follow-up with the students that struggle frequently so we
can provide them with support and extend their thinking. In addition, the students in our
classroom are used to being pulled out into the hall to for assessments. As a result,
they did not exhibit any anxiety or have any other negative reactions to the assessment.

The observations that I have made in the classroom have helped me interpret
and understand the results of the assessment. As stated previously in this paper, there
were certain questions that several students answered incorrectly possibly because of
their lack of background knowledge or lack of experience with that type of question. On
the other hand, the questions that were answered correctly by most of the students
were questions that are commonly asked or similar to commonly asked questions in our
classroom. Figure 2 shows the questions that were asked and how many students
answered each correctly. This table will be beneficial to reference throughout this
paper.


Question # Question
# of students that answered the
question correctly

1 Why did Toad make a list? 18
2
What was the first thing Toad put on his
list? 19
3
What things on the list did Toad want to do
with Frog? 22
4
After writing down his list, what does Toad
say? 16
5
What needs to happen in order to cross out
an item on the list? Give an example from
the story to explain how Toad was able to
cross something off the list? 20
6
At one point in the story Toad knocks on
Frog's door. What did Toad just cross off
his list before he arrived at Frog's house? 17
7 How does Frog feel about Toad's list? 14

Figure 2: This table displays the questions that were asked during the
assessment and how many students answered each question correctly.


Figure 2 shows that questions 1, 4, 6, and 7 were the questions that were the
most frequently answered wrong. Question 1 was discussed previously in this paper, so
I am going to focus on the other questions in this section. Questions 4 and 6 both ask
the students to remember a specific details in the story and the order of the events.
Based on my observations in the classroom, I would deduce that several students
answered incorrectly because they do not have extensive experience with questions
that have only one answer. As a result, they had difficulty answering this question.
However, the questions that were answered correctly by most students are those that
are similar to the questions the teachers ask in class. For example, Figure 2 shows that
questions 3 and 5 were answered correctly by the greatest number of students.
Questions such as these, are commonly asked in the classroom during read alouds,
reading mini-lessons, and during independent reading in the form of in-the-moment
assessments. Question 7 was the most frequently missed question. I believe this is
once again due to the fact that students are not asked to answer this question often
during reading lessons. Additionally, this may show a lack of background knowledge
about feelings. We have not taught feelings or formally talked about them much in the
classroom this year. As a result, many students were unable to accurately answer this
question. The results of this quarterly assessment have allowed
me to understand areas of of the curriculum that are lacking and need to be addressed.
When analyzing the quarterly assessment, two students stuck out. Both students
did not attend preschool and came to school with a similar knowledge base. However,
one student, J.M., performed much better than the other, N.C. This made me wonder
why one would do significantly better than the other when they had the same instruction
and amount of time to learn. Their results are represented in Figures 3 and 4.

Question # Question Answer
Correct or
Incorrect

1 Why did Toad make a list?
Tried to write on his
paper. Incorrect
2
What was the first thing Toad put on his
list? Wore his glasses. Incorrect
3
What things on the list did Toad want to do
with Frog?
Eat the food and drink
the coffee. Incorrect
4
After writing down his list, what does Toad
say?
He don't have no shoes
or no pants. Incorrect
5
What needs to happen in order to cross out
an item on the list? Give an example from
the story to explain how Toad was able to
cross something off the list?
He wants a toy box.
Closed his lips and tried
to cough on his face. Incorrect
6
At one point in the story Toad knocks on
Frog's door. What did Toad just cross off
his list before he arrived at Frog's house?
Tried to get him pants
and a shirt and he
knocked on the door. Incorrect
7 How does Frog feel about Toad's list? He wants to talk to him Incorrect
and go to his house and
worry about the cake.


Figure 3: This table represents the results of N.C.s CPS Quarterly Assessment.
As shown, she did not answer any of the comprehension questions correctly.






Question # Question Answer
Correct or
Incorrect

1 Why did Toad make a list? To do everything. Correct
2
What was the first thing Toad put on his
list? Wake up. Correct
3
What things on the list did Toad want to do
with Frog?
Play games and take a
walk. Correct
4
After writing down his list, what does Toad
say? My stuff all written down. Correct
5
What needs to happen in order to cross
out an item on the list? Give an example
from the story to explain how Toad was
able to cross something off the list?
When he has done it.
Eat breakfast. Correct
6
At one point in the story Toad knocks on
Frog's door. What did Toad just cross off
his list before he arrived at Frog's house? Get dressed. Incorrect
7 How does Frog feel about Toad's list? Likes it. Its his friend. Correct


Figure 4: This table represents the results of J.M.s CPS Quarterly Assessment.
As shown, she answered all but one question correctly.




Figures 3 and 4 show the results of students N.C. and J.M. N.C. did not answer a
single question correctly while J.M. answered all but one correctly. I believe that this
shows that J.M. was able to use more metacognitive strategies and persistence to
remember the events in the story and answer the questions correctly while N.C. only
focused on making sure she gave an answer. As a result, J.M. scored much higher on
the assessment. I drew my conclusions from the results of the assessment and from the
behaviors of each student that I observed this Fall during informal observations and
assessments.

Reading comprehension has always been on our list of skills to teach. However,
due to the CPS Quarterly Assessment, it has become one of the most important skills
on our list. We were unaware that we had to give this assessment until the very end of
the quarter. As a result, the test was the first formal assessment that our students had
taken on reading comprehension. Most of the students did well on the assessment,
which was good to see. The results allowed me to have formal data on all of my
students. Some of the students did better than I expected and really made me proud of
the progress they have made. This makes me believe that the assessment was quality
because Brambrick-Santoyo state in Driven by Data that quality interim assessments
have the power to fundamentally improve academic performance (11). Unfortunately,
not all of the students performed well. As stated previously in this paper, I believe that
some of the students thought that they would do well as long as they gave an answer.
Additionally, I think that the test was out of some of the students zone of proximal
development and they have not had enough practice applying their knowledge in this
context (Sheperd, 8). Therefore, they were unable to transfer their knowledge. Shepard
summarizes Bransford by stating that it is important for students to be able to practice
with a variety of applications to increase learning and be able to apply their knowledge
(11). The book, Driven by Data, explains that some students performed poorly because
the test was well above what the students were able to master (Bambrick-Santoyo, p.
133). I believe this is what happened with the student N.C. who did not answer a single
question correctly. I do not believe that she has the reading comprehension skills yet or
just did not know how to transfer her knowledge in order to answer correctly. The other
student examined previously, J.M., seemed to have acquired the ability to apply her
knowledge and use the reading comprehension skills taught in class to perform well on
the assessment. The majority of the students, just like J.M., were able to transfer the
skills taught in class to answer the questions on the assessment correctly.
The questions that I still have about my students learning in the domain of
reading comprehension are: what comprehension strategies would be the most
beneficial for the students that are unable to comprehend the readings, like N.C., and
how do I get students comfortable with the format of the CPS Quarterly Assessment
without teaching to the test? My first wondering is my biggest. For N.C. and other
students to be unable to answer most or any of the reading comprehension questions
correctly, a major intervention is in order. As a result, I wonder what strategies will get
those students to the point where they can answer the questions independently and
without teacher direction or support. My second question has to do with teaching to the
test. How do I avoid doing this while teaching? Reading comprehension and the ability
to support answers with evidence from the text, are important skills to have. Myself, my
co-resident, and my mentor have all taught these skills. However, now we are teaching
it more often and making it a priority. While they are learning the skills, some students
may still find it difficult to transfer those skills over to the assessment. So, how do we
allow the students to get comfortable with the assessment without teaching to the test?
Fostering reading comprehension skills and avoiding teaching to the test, are the two
wonderings I still have about my students learning.

There are several formal and informal assessments that I would recommend be
used to monitor my students progress in reading comprehension. The formal
assessments would be the quarterly assessment provided by CPS and at least one
more test given in the middle of the quarter to assess if the students are making
adequate progress in the area of reading comprehension. I would give one assessment
that is similar to the CPS Quarterly Assessment in order to get data that is similar to
what is yielded by the CPS test. This will help guide my instruction and let me know if
my students are able to read, or have a book read to them, and then answer
challenging questions where they must pull evidence from the story to support their
answers. I would also perform several informal assessments in order to monitor my
students progress in reading comprehension. Several examples of informal
assessments would be asking questions during and after a read aloud, during
independent and partner reading, and when books are read to teach information in
subjects other than reading, like in science. The informal assessments would assist me
in gauging the day to day progress of my students and adjust my teaching to support
the areas that are weak. The CPS Quarterly assessment provided much data that will
help me improve and guide my instruction.
References

Santoyo, P. (2010). Driven by data: a practical guide to improve instruction. San
Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass.

Shepard, L. A. (2000). The Role Of Assessment In A Learning Culture.
Educational Researcher, 29(7), 4.