Giving and/or creating formative assessments should be a painless task for teachers; however, that’s not always the case. As teachers, we have a tendency to overanalyze things….at least, I do.
I was reading Jennifer Serravallo’s book Understanding Texts and Readers and I was inspired with how easy it can be to administer a formative assessment to your entire class at once, all while gaining insightful data that we can use immediately after for further instruction.
For this specific type of formative, the only thing that needs to be prepped ahead of time, is the piece of text that will be used. You will just have to find which text you would want to give to your class. You could choose to do it in a whole group scenario where everyone gets the same text, or you could pick different texts for each of your small groups. Whatever method you choose, the questions don’t change.
I’ve come up with 8 questions that can be used for any text you pick (4 for fiction and 4 for non-fiction). These questions were created with the purpose of being able to determine different areas of need for your students. They will be assessing all the core components of comprehension: characters, theme, plot, and author’s craft. (Click on the picture to download your FREE copy!)
After they read the text, have them answer the 4 questions and turn it in. Then, while you’re binging the latest Netflix show, read through their responses and start grouping them based off of how they answered. Maybe you’ll have three piles: students that nailed it, students who are on their way, and students that missed it completely. I would also suggest just focusing on one question at a time when you’re sorting them.
The data you gathered from reading your student’s responses helps you easily form small groups that you can then provide targeted, intentional instruction with. I would suggest using Serravallo’s Reading Strategies book to find ideas and anchor charts that will help provide the scaffolding, or enrichment, your students need.
Hopefully, this will provide some direction and clarity to reading formatives for you. Remember what the purpose of a formative assessment is: to check-in on your students progress with the content. Don’t overthink it!!
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