Purposes and Methods of Classroom-Based Literacy Assessment Annotated Bibliography

Excerpt from Annotated Bibliography :

Classroom-based reading assessment is the measurement of children's progress in learning reading by using both formal and informal measurement tools.

Classroom Assessments

Classroom assessment collects useful information about what students do and do not know about reading. Teachers can use four different types of assessments to accomplish this.

Leveled Books

Leveled books can be used to figure out where exactly a student is in terms of reading level.

Informal procedures

Rough observation and measurement can be used to figure out where exactly students are in terms of reading level.


Tests can be administered to find out where students' strengths and weaknesses are.

Work Samples

Collecting samples of a student's work can be instructive in figuring out where a student is in terms of reading level

Determining Student's Reading Level

Teachers must figure out where students are in terms of reading level so that they can progress in their learning while not being faced with material that is too difficult for them based on their current level. The method of delivering the reading will depend on what level a student is at. Students should not be trying to read alone if they are struggling.

a. Independent Reading Level

A student is independent at a given level when they can read 95% or more of the text with accuracy.

b. Instructional Reading Level

The student is very close to proper reading level with an accuracy rate of 90-94% but they do need some assistance.

c. Frustration Reading Level

The student needs a significant amount of assistance and does not recognize enough of the words.

III. Readability Formulas

Readability formulas are a way of dictating where a student is in terms of reading level. The notation indicates the level at which a student can read on his/her own comfortably. One popular formula structure is the Fri Readability Graph. Just looking at a book is not enough to determine its score because very different books can be scored the same.

a. Leveled Books

Grade levels have been the traditional way to progress readers as they learn but this has been found by many to be too broad. Parameters such as familiarity, interest level, the complexity of the vocabulary and relationship of illustrations in the text are often used.

b. Fountas and Pinnel

Fountas & Pinnel used the criteria above to construct a 26-level text gradient with levels running from A to Z. The letters roughly correspond to grade level as one goes from A to Z….starting with Kindergarten and extending up to 8th grade.

c. Lexile Framework

The Lexile framework is the newest approach used to measure reading level and was developed by MetaMetrics. It is unique because it measures both reading level and difficulty. Standardized tests like the ITBS tests are often linked directly to the Lexile framework.

d. Assessment Tools

There are several different formal assessment tools that can be used to determine reading level

i. Development Reading Assessment

Available in two kits with one for K-3 and one for 4-8. Online system is available

ii. Fountas & Pinnell Benchmark

Also sold in two kits and offers a total of 30 levels of fiction and non-fiction books iii. Scholastic Reading Inventory

A computer-adaptive assessment for grades1-12 that uses the Lexile system when scoring students

IV. Monitoring Students' Progress

Effective tracking of student progress is essential to help students keep progressing as they should not too early. There are several parts to doing monitoring correctly.

a. Observations

Teachers need to be good "kid watchers" to track student progress. The observations need to be both informal and formal.

b. Anecdotal Notes

This is when teachers write brief notes in notebooks or sticky notes as they watch students participate. Anecdotal notes over time can lead to identification of trends and sticking points…

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