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Thursday, August 15, 2013

Beginning of Year Common Core ELA Assessment

School has begun! My first order of business has been getting to know my students. In addition to their hobbies and what they did over the summer, I'm really interested in each student's starting points. What do they already know? What can they already do?

I decided to assess their reading abilities using the Common Core State Standards for Literature. First, I had to find a story. My go-to place is Project Gutenberg, which offers over 42,000 free ebooks in the public domain. For access to a short, age-appropriate story, I headed straight to The Aesop for Children. This book has dozens of fables, written especially for kids. One of my favorites is "The North Wind and the Sun," so I copied it, pasted it, and adapted it (all totally legal because the book is in public domain) to fit my needs for the reading preassessment.

Next I wrote seven questions to directly assess RL.4.1 (answering an inferential question), RL.4.2 (finding a theme and summarizing), RL.4.3 (describing a character), RL.4.4 (using context to find word meanings), RL.4.5 (discriminating between poetry, drama, and prose), and RL.4.6 (determining point of view).

My students were finished in about 30 minutes. What did I learn?
  • They can write answers using question parts.
  • They can answer inferential questions.
  • They either cannot or will not support their answers with evidence from the text.
  • They don't know about citing.
  • They do not write conclusions.
  • They do not know the word "summarize."
  • They do not know how to find a theme; perhaps they don't even know what a theme is.
  • They understand how to use context clues to find word meanings.
  • They do not know the word "prose."
  • A few of them can determine point of view; however, even those who could do it did not use the terms first-person and third-person.
This is awesome! My students are right where I expected them to be. I'm ready to teach them all of this, and they're ready to learn. Let the year begin!!

P.S. It's relatively easy to create an assessment like this yourself, but if you'd like to use mine, fourth and fifth grade versions are available at my Teachers pay Teachers store for $1.50 each. Stop by on Sunday, August 18th, or Monday, August 19th, for the site-wide sale! Everything in my store will be 20% off---and TpT will also give you an additional percentage off.