Grades 6-9 Units of Study Reading Assessments
We are pleased to present drafts of reading assessments for the coming academic year, developed to accompany the Grades 6-9 Reading Units of Study published by Heinemann. Thanks especially to the Middle School Reading Assessments Inquiry Group of 2018-2019 - Stephanie Montesani, Carina Favale, Theresa Dunbar, Alease Silvera, Serita Mattei, Adriana Bonforte, Rosemary Bonforte, Amy Carpenter, and Lynn Miller - for all their discussions and work thinking through options for assessing the middle school reading curriculum. We have not piloted these yet, and invite feedback once they are in use in the field. We have drafted teacher-facing rubrics on a 4-point scale and student-facing checklists for the questions that are asterisked.
We highly recommend developing a robust array of kinds of assessment as multiple measures that would appear on any given student’s report card or progress report. For example, notebook work, partner and club collaboration, volume and variety of reading, and/or class discussion/participation could all be arenas that are also assessed, as they all represent key aspects of reading workshop. The assessments below attend only to the comprehension skills taught in the referenced units, and are indexed by the specific reading standards that are attached. As such, you may opt to read aloud the text or make it available on audio so that more students have access to a literal understanding/decodable version of the text before answering the questions that will test their higher order thinking skills.
In the case of Tapping the Power of Nonfiction and Essential Research Skills for Teens, units that we recommend teaching alongside or before or after information or argument writing units of study, we recommend our reading-writing performance assessments, accessible on our website at http://readingandwritingproject.org/resources/assessments/reading-writing-assessments.
For other units, you’ll find a recommendation of a text and accompanying assessment from CommonLit.org. We like this organization, as it has worked hard to obtain the copyright to a library of authentic, worthwhile texts, and has made this available to teachers for free. They also have a team of assessment developers who create accompanying multiple choice and discussion questions for the texts. We find their multiple choice items to be well aligned with many state exams. If you’d like to see how students do with this type of assessment with skills related to our units, you could decide to read aloud the text (see above), then give out copies of the text plus the multiple choice questions. You could also decide to skip the multiple choice questions and just go with the extended response work (see below).
We’ve also created at least one extended response question aligned to the main teaching of the unit. The asterisked extended response questions have teacher rubrics and student-facing checklists. We hope the checklists may be of use during the unit (not just for post-assessment), as students might use them to lift the level of their notebook work or partner/book club talk. You may also find them helpful in conferences or small groups as a teaching tool. To give access to students for whom writing is an obstacle, you might decide to have some students video or audio record their responses, or conduct a live assessment where they speak their response to you directly.
You’ll find a document including this introduction and an outline of the recommended assessments as well as the accompanying rubrics and checklists in the folder on this page. The rubrics are named to indicate the unit of study and the reading skill to which they pertain.
Let us know how these go.
Best, The TCRWP Middle School Team August 2019