The most valuable assessments in schools today is the running record. Running records measure both fluency and comprehension for each student. From this data, teachers can determine the appropriate level to instruct a child in reading. Teachers can also determine the child’s “frustration” level. “Frustration” is determined when a child’s accuracy falls below 90% or there is a complete lack of comprehension. Testing young children to the point of “frustration” may sound inhumane, but it is for a very brief moment in time and the assessment is done in a 1:1 setting. The teacher can end the assessment at any point.
Teachers are well aware of the reading levels for each child in their classroom. They are also aware of each child’s “frustration” level. While it is good practice to instruct students at or above their reading levels, it makes no sense at all to test a child for 3 days and over 500 minutes with text levels that are clearly defined at or above “frustration” level. Yet, that is exactly what the NYSED Common Core tests are all about. While Pearson and NYSED continue to produce costly and time consuming assessments, classroom teachers and parents have all the data they need. In the quest of rigor, we have abandoned common sense and the best teaching practices.
One child’s rigor is another child’s mental breakdown.