Monday, January 5, 2015

Teacher Interview: Assessment

I interviewed a second grade teacher back in March, 2013.  We discussed how the teacher utilized assessment in the school.  The interviewees name has been removed to protect the individual's identity.

Q: How do you assess students?

A: Our assessments are broken down by subject.  For math, we do unit tests, which are created by the Investigations program.  We also have district created benchmarks, which are done once per trimester.  At the beginning of the year, there is an assessment to see what skills the students have and see if they know the skills they were supposed to learn in the previous grade. This is also district created.

For reading, we use Fontas and Pinnell, which assess guided reading level. They are given a short story and have to comprehend it.  There's also DIBELS.  We assess fluency and ability to phonetically sound out words by giving them nonsense words. So the words aren't real but we see if they can pronounce them using phonetic rules.  There are also weekly unit tests and benchmarks created from Journeys, which is from Houghton Mifflin.

For writing, there's three benchmarks which are at the beginning, middle, and end of the year. They are district created.

For science, we have checkups to see if they understand the skills.

Q: How is Response to Intervention (RTI) implemented in your school?

A: We have a performance tracker program.  It tracks all the kids in the program. We use data to respond to what is going on. I also compare to the benchmarks, question by question.  I also give instruction.

Q: Do you do any benchmarking? If so, how?

A: Yes, we do a lot of benchmarking for reading, writing, and math. Many are created by the district.  (see question 1).

Q: How do you determine good test questions?

A: We assess to the state standards. If we teach to the standards and follow the standards, good questions come from what is taught.  If most of the kids get a question wrong, I check and see if it was worded correctly. I think about if I taught the material well enough, the wording of the question, or how it relates to the standards.  When there are numerous students who get a question wrong, I meet with them in a group, go over the question, and touch base with them to what went wrong. It goes along with RTI.

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