Blog

  • Factors that influence assessment outcomes

    Person with thought bubble

    By Chris Huzinec, MS, and Anne-Marie Kimbell, PhD, MSEd

    Assessment performance is rarely a straightforward process. While the tests being used have varying degrees of standardization and psychometric properties, the most effective are those that have robust reliability and validity. However, their results can be skewed by factors relating to the student, client, patient, or clinician — even the testing environment or testing process itself can affect the outcome.

    Is the student being tested developmentally delayed? Do they have physical disabilities such as a visual impairment or hearing loss? Did they get enough sleep the night before? Have they eaten that day? Is there a language difference? Perhaps the tester’s physical or mental state is less than optimal, or they are unfamiliar with the testing materials.

    Testing adults with fidelity can also be hampered by outside influences such as literacy, substance abuse, language, and many other factors.

    Even when thorough assessment procedures are followed, conditions are present during the testing session that can affect performance, scores, and, as a consequence, test results. Being aware of these factors and their potential impact on the testing process is important to ensure maximum performance and accurate results.

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  • The dust has settled. Now what?

    The hubbub and chaos of the first days of school are behind you, and your days are filled with getting to know each of your new students. Perhaps a rogue paper airplane that landed at the foot of your desk while you were facing the whiteboard has already prompted a seating change. Perhaps the little boy who comes in each morning and rattles off random facts has inspired you to add a supplementary unit on the history of drinking straws. Perhaps you’re already planning your escape (kidding!). At any rate, whatever the first few weeks had in store for you, you are looking toward the future, and planning your next steps with your new students.

    What’s next?

    One of the most important tasks in any school year is discovering each student’s literacy strengths and weaknesses. Identifying where they might need a little help, and how you can utilize their strengths to augment that support will help them make the most of their educational time. We have put together a reading assessment calendar to help you stay on track throughout the year, and to provide you with helpful tools to enhance your reading curriculum. September’s activities are crucial to your students’ reading success, and will set you on the path to discovering the lifelong reader in each of them!
     

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  • Get ready to soar to new heights!

    Two students reading

    “Reading is essential for those who seek to rise above the ordinary.”
    – Jim Rohn

    Reading helps us grow, takes us to places we’ve never been, and opens up opportunities we’d otherwise might never have. Reading is the basis for all learning — and our team places a high value on both. Like opening the cover to a new book, each school year is a chance to transform your students into lifelong learners and avid adventurers through reading.

    Just as each student is unique, so, too, are their reading skills. Where one student may have a firm grip on context, they may struggle with retention. Some of your students may be reading two grades ahead while others are at grade level — or two grades behind. Determining each student’s individual reading abilities for each skill can be overwhelming, especially considering back-to-school is already packed to the gills with activity and excitement.

    Enter the Developmental Reading Assessment, now in its third edition (a.k.a. DRA3). Its authors have researched, revamped, and reengineered it to not only make your students better readers, but to make your day easier. We understand that learning how to use a new or updated assessment can be daunting, especially in the beginning of the school year, but we’ve been burning the midnight oil to make sure that you’ve got all of the training and support you need right at your fingertips. We’ve also put together a reading assessment calendar to help guide you through the school year, outlining important activities for each month, as well as pertinent events.

    August’s calendar is full of training and planning, and ours is no exception! Both are excellent means to ensuring a successful year, full of growth and adventure. We are honored to have a hand in this year’s adventures, and are right by your side if you need us!

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  • DRA3: Empowering teachers. Engaging students.

    Female reading book to child

    Here's to beginnings…

    33 years ago, when teachers Joetta Beaver and Dr. Mark Carter saw a need for and developed the Developmental Reading Assessment™, they could only dream that it would find its way into as many schools, and affected as many students as it has. Luckily for all of us, their dedication to expanding the horizons of readers everywhere didn't end there! Now in its third edition, the DRA™3 is about to hit the mailboxes of teachers everywhere, and this version will knock your socks off!

    While beginning the process of updating the DRA™2, we reached out to our customers to find out what was most important to them. 97% told us that the latest research and field studies to support its validity were important to them, 96% looked for a positive experience for the student, while 95% felt that an ample selection of fiction and non-fiction leveled books for all reading levels was a priority. 89% looked for an all-inclusive kit with reading benchmarking, word analysis, and progress monitoring, 89% utilize teaching tools to improve their efficiency and effectiveness, and 88% would appreciate built-in professional development.

    We took all of this valuable educator feedback and combined it with field studies and updated research and are thrilled with the result. DRA3 isn't simply the premier developmental reading assessment, it's an all-inclusive solution for transforming students into lifelong readers!

    Here's what one of our team members had to say about it: "The DRA3 provides teachers with the in-depth information they need to help their students become proficient, enthusiastic readers. With over 100 Benchmark Assessment Books at 23 reading levels, as well as Word Analysis and Progress Monitoring options, DRA3 is a comprehensive assessment system to engage and support developing readers in Grades K–8." – Erin Gunelson, Senior Product Manager for DRA3

    "The 'cream' of DRA is the Focus for Instruction page."
    - February 2019 Reading Assessment Survey

    What's new with DRA3?

    We're glad you asked! One great new feature is the Level Estimator which identifies the best starting levels for younger students or new students entering your school or district. The entire solution is also available on a digital system that offers teachers a web-based platform to assess, score, report, manage data, and create and monitor individual student reading plans — all in the same place. This data follows individual students through each grade allowing for a smooth transition and easy access to historical data. The digital platform includes a few extra reports as well, such as:

    • Class Roster Report
    • Student Action Plan
    • Student Assessment History
    • Assessment Instance Results
    • Parent Report
    • Student Performance Over Time
    • Class Skills Summary
    • School/District Benchmark Scoring Report
    • School/District Data Across Seasons (and Across Years)

    In a nutshell, DRA3 puts all of the tools you need to engage your students in their reading progress in one place. Its streamlined assessment, instruction, and progress monitoring workflow empowers teachers and students alike!

    Ready to transform your students into lifelong readers? Learn more about DRA3 at pearsonassessments.com/DRA3!

     

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  • How Student Assessments Support Lesson Plans

    by Jana Bennett

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    Lesson planning is one of the most fundamental aspects of teaching. Guiding the course of classroom instruction, lesson plans are like an educator's road map – detailing what students need to learn and how lessons will be taught to influence learning.

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