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Student Assessment

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Foundations of Reading & Lit

December 8, 2013

Student assessment of cognitive and

Non-cognitive affects for literacy development


Assessments are a very valuable tool for teachers. In the past, I have only given cognitive tests and used that data. Using a non-cognitive assessment opened up the door to a new pathway for me. I can use this data to assist me in motivating struggling students to read. Utilizing the data from both types of assessments, conferencing with students, and learning about their home life will allow me to use appropriate strategies for them to be successful.


Student assessment of cognitive and

non-cognitive affects for literacy development

What influences a child to become a successful learner? How can I motivate my students? What approaches should I take? What are the attitudes students have towards learning? Assessments help me identify these answers to these questions and help me understand students academically, as well as, socially. I also have to consider the students home life. How involved are the parents and siblings with this student. The answers to these questions will help me determine the direction I will need to go in order for my students to become successful learners.
. Dr. Afflerbach stated that if we know the nature of a student's self-esteem we can use this information to turn a child around and change the student into having positive self-esteem (Laureate Education, Inc., 2011). I gave, The Reader Self-Perception Scale, assessment to my whole class. The results of this test, not only gave me a score of the student I have chosen for the assignment this semester, but enlightened me on how my whole class felt when it came to reading. For example, I had already observed that this student avoids reading on his own during our reading block, but enjoys reading when we do any kind of “hands on” or group projects. Since I use a lot of Spencer Kagan structures, almost every structure has a partner or a group to work with. This week, my class read the Scholastic News magazine. Instead of reading this magazine as a whole group, I decided to have four groups and each group would summarize what they had read, write it on large chart paper, and present it to the class. This student was actively engaged during this assignment, because he had the opportunity to be the illustrator and also one of the presenters. I chose this activity after reviewing the results of the RSPS. Teachers can gain a sense of how the general classroom climate affects children’s self- esteem and judgments in reading (W.A, Henk & Steven A. Melnick, 1995). Observing this enlightened me on some of the adjustments I need to make in my classroom.

Motivating struggling readers can be a difficult task. Often students who are reading below grade level struggle through grade level materials. This is why I have small groups for every subject I teach. Do I have each small group every day? No. I try to incorporate two groups a day for each subject. However, this student is in the group that I do meet with everyday. Students need motivation, a positive self-concept, the right attitude, and their own interests in reading (Afflerbach, 2012). By meeting with his group daily, whether it is conferencing on writing, or we are reinforcing math (most of the time we meet for math is due to the fact they we work on word problems) we meet every day, and it he can see how he is improving, and this builds up his self esteem.

Over the last few weeks, the whole school took the STAR Accelerated Reading test. There are two cognitive tests that my school administers at the beginning of the year and throughout the school year. These tests are designed to let the teacher know what reading level the student is on, and are the strategies we are using in our class working for our students. Dr. Afflerbach encourages teachers to make students aware of the relationship between effort and reading (Afflerbach, 2012). I have students monitor their progress in their folders so they can see how they are doing. At the beginning of the year, the student I chose grade for the STAR test was “PP” for pre-primer reader. The other test is from Discovery Learning, this test is broken down into four different categories and lets me know is a student is Emergent, Approaches, meets or exceeds standards. My student fell under the Emergent category in all four categories. Over the past few weeks, the testing window opened and it was time for my class to be assessed again. Before the students went to the lab to take the test, I told the students, “All of you have been working so hard this year and I know that each and every one of you will do great! In fact, when we get the scores, if you move up just one month, you can go to my treasure box!” I received the scores, and had each student come up to me privately and showed them their scores. This student came up to me, his head was down until I showed him his score. He couldn’t believe it! He boosted his score from PP to a 1.5! His grade also went up on the Discovery test. Although he is still in the Emergent category, his grade went up! His whole body language changed. I told him how proud I was of him and if we continue doing what we’re doing imagine what can happen next! It was one of the reasons why I became a teacher.

Communicating with families is very important to me. Since I live in Las Vegas, and it’s a twenty-four hour city, parents work all different types of shifts. I send weekly notices home on Mondays advising them of upcoming events and any other information they may need. This particular student doesn’t get to see his mom often because she goes to work about an hour after he gets home. He is one of seven siblings and doesn’t get much support at home. Participating in tutoring is impossible because he has to take the school bus to get home. I’m sure this plays a major factor as to why he is struggling in his subjects at school. When this happens it is the teacher's duty to provide successful reading experiences to the students (Laureate Education, Inc., 2008). When we were conferencing about reading, I asked him several questions such as, What do you like to read? What would you like to learn about? Why don’t you like to read? He told me that he doesn’t like to read because he doesn’t understand what he’s reading and the stories that he can read are “baby books”. We then made a contract. I told him that I have books that he can listen to while he follows along, but he would have to read books at his reading level so he can grow as a reader during our silent reading time. To start off the contract, I decided to have my whole class read “Shiloh” by Phyllis Reynolds Naylor, while listening to it. There are projects that go along with the story, and so far, he is really enjoying it. He works with his group on the activities and I know that he is reading his grade level books because he has to take Accelerated Reading tests. I can already see that progress and just hope that it continues.

I have found out that to fully understand how to help a struggling reader, I need to use cognitive and non-cognitive assessments to truly understand what and how my students are thinking for them to be successful. I’m glad that I gave was introduced and gave the RSPS assessment to my whole class and will continue to do so in the future. I have shared the test with my peers and have shown them the results and how powerful this assessment can be. Although I can’t tell what happens to my student once he gets on the bus to go home, I can control what happens during his time at school.

Laureate Education, Inc. (Producer). (2010). Assessing Motivation to Read. Author.
Henk. W. A. & Hank, S.A. (1995). The Reader Self-Perception Scale (RSPS): A new tool for measuring how children feel about themselves as reader. The Reading Teacher, 48(6) 476. Retrieved from the Education Research complete database.

Afflerbach, P., (2012). Understanding and using reading assessment k-12. Newark, DE: International Reading Association.

(Laureate Education, Inc., 2011).

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