Friday, June 17, 2011

Best Grade Level Reading Assessment

Best Grade Level Reading and Language Arts Assessment: NWEA MAP

Teachers and parents have abundant choices for grade level reading and language arts assessment and each instrument will give useful data. For teachers and parents a measure of students growth may be a better choice to plan and adjust curriculum to meet the needs of students. The best test instrument, in my opinion is the NWEA Measure of Academic Progress (MAP) test. The NWEA MAP individual academic content area test are progressive and measure multiple learning strands for all key academic strands. The test measures academic progress in All State Standards and or Common Core State Standards.

Hi Stephanie,
     Make sure Brady has an up to date IEP and you have access to a good Special Education program in your area. Brady has access to all the Special Education services including testing even though you are home schooling, under IDEA law. An up to date revaluation may be a good idea to get a measure of I.Q., academic performance, and I would also recommend a speech and language screening. Using the data and feedback from the assessments will help develop a strong education plan that ensures a very successful home schooling experience. Find a good education advocate to help ask informed questions and make sense of all the data generated from a IEP evaluation.

Student Assessment that I recommend.

Cognitive Ability Testing

Woodcock-Johnson III NU Overview and Uses

Professionals use the WJ III NU to:
Diagnose learning disabilities
Determine discrepancies
Plan educational programs
Plan individual programs
Assess growth
Provide psychometric training
Provide guidance in educational and clinical settings
Conduct research

Academic Progress Testing


One Size Doesn’t Fit All

Each child learns differently. So we developed computerized adaptive assessments that test differently, allowing teachers to see their students as individuals – each with their own base of knowledge.
Tests That Adapt to the Student

NWEA Measures of Academic Progress® (MAP®) tests present students with engaging, age-appropriate content. As a student responds to questions, the test responds to the student, adjusting up or down in difficulty.

The result is a rewarding experience for the student, and a wealth of detailed information for teachers, parents and administrators.
Powered By Data

The underlying data driving the assessment ensures remarkable accuracy, based on over 24 million assessments given over our 30+ years. Our equal-interval RIT scale increases the stability, providing grade-independent analysis of a child's learning.

For educators, it means at last having timely information that, used well, can change the course of a student's schoolyear — and life.


Wechsler Intelligence Scale for Children® — Fourth Edition (WISC®-IV) Overview

Understanding of learning disabilities and attentional disorders has greatly expanded since the publication of the WISC–III. WISC–IV makes important advances from WISC–III in order to provide the most effective clinical tool representing cutting edge research and thinking. This timely revision is the result of over a decade of research and success with the WISC–III. WISC–IV empowers you to use your experience, skills and judgment to relate test results to referral questions.

The WISC®–IV provides more than IQ scores. It provides essential information and critical clinical insights into a child’s cognitive functioning.This fourth generation of the most widely used children’s intellectual ability assessment meets your testing needs for the twenty-first century. While maintaining the integrity of the Wechsler® tradition, the Wechsler Intelligence Scale for Children®—Fourth Edition (WISC–IV®) builds on contemporary approaches in cognitive psychology and intellectual assessment, giving you a new, powerful and efficient tool to help develop and support your clinical judgments.
Great Article and Overview From Wiki.

Wechsler Preschool and Primary Scale of Intelligence Overview

WPPSI™-III — Totally Restructured Based on User Input and Expert Panel Review to Build a Better Assessment from Start to Finish

The improvements we've made to the Wechsler Preschool and Primary Scale of Intelligence™-Third Edition (WPPSI™-III) are the result of research gathered from customers, expert advisory panels, professionals in the field, and children who have been involved in the testing process. Consequently, WPPSI™-III features shorter, more game-like activities that hold the attention of children as young as 2-1/2 years. Simplified instructions and scoring procedures enhance the ease of administration for examiners. Both children and examiners benefit from the thoughtful, carefully constructed revisions implemented to build a highly respected, reliable test that completely reflects what customers and other professionals told us they wanted for WPPSI™-III.
Great Article and Overview from Wiki

Now you can have a reliable and valid measure of intelligence in young children that is more age-appropriate and user-friendly. These significant improvements provide more clinically useful information for diagnosis and planning, makingWPPSI™–III an even more powerful tool.

Home School Assessment

"Is there a standardized test that is a better indicator of understanding and knowledge than the school system typically uses? In Virginia we are required to test each year as proof of progress when homeschooling, but it seems many standardized tests these days are more about the teacher than the student."

Hi Stephanie,
     All the academic, cognitive, standardized, and I.Q. testing is valuable but must be administered by a certified professorial leaving you at the whim of their schedule's. You need a program to evaluate and assess at home and have the assurance that you are meeting the academic needs of Brady. I would invest in a copy of the BRIGANCE® Comprehensive Inventory of Basic Skills to help with home assessment. You can find used copies @ amazon for around $150. Brigance Inventory @ Amazon 

Easily assess students' strengths and needs in the classroom. Based on 30 years of research and experience in special education, the BRIGANCE® Comprehensive Inventory of Basic Skills–Revised (CIBS–R) is a comprehensive assessment tool that meets state standards and is nationally normed.

  • Determine Present Level of Performance or Academic Achievement and Functional Performance (PLOP/PLAAFP)
  • Assess for effective diagnosis and instructional planning
  • Monitor and report progress for IEPs

More to Come!

I love your blog! I'm writing to ask for your opinion if it wouldn't be too much of an imposition. My son is very bright and has mild Aspergers. He is reading above grade level but struggles with pragmatics (if it isn't specifically stated in the text he has trouble drawing inferences). I am homeschooling him for 2nd grade because we were unable to find a program that seemed like a good fit. He is labeled "twice exceptional" and has an amazing, wonderful, fascinating brain. I kept hearing the words "he can't" when he clearly can do anything he sets his mind to. He was starting to feel like a problem child and hate learning, when he has always been curious, interested, and happy to read anything interesting that I provided. So, we decided to take advantage of the large homeschooling community in our area and will be giving it a try, but I'd like some guidance from a professional that has high standards and understands learning differences. I've seen your comments on Huffington Post and read your blog and you seem to be an incredible teacher with a great understanding of kids and reading. I would really appreciate any suggestions you would be willing to share.

I am having trouble finding a good Language Arts curriculum that will challenge and interest him and we start homeschooling in 2 weeks. For 1st grade his school used Scott Foresman Reading which seemed to be almost an entire grade level above what our Virginia public schools are using. I would just skip to a 3rd grade LA curriculum but I think he needs more practice due to his issues with pragmatics which negatively impacts his reading comprehension (he remembers what he has read, but might not understand it thoroughly due to difficulty drawing conclusions). He is very good at spelling, has the vocabulary of a much older child, and is very interested in science and technology. My plan for the summer is to help him develop an ear for the English Language through reading poetry together, listening to songs and analyzing the various methods used by song writers to make lyrics interesting (double meanings, alliteration, rhyming, patterns, etc.), reading well written literature that has stood the test of time, and reading news for kids to understand writing for different purposes. He already knows what homophones, nouns, proper nouns, and antonyms are and has fun discussing them as we read so I would like to continue with grammar but it will not be our main focus. We will be using Mad Libs to continue learning parts of speech in addition to any curriculum.

I am looking for ways of determining his reading level. His teacher was unable to provide much information, but when I asked if 3rd grade books would be too advanced, she said no. I would guess that he reads at a 4th grade level. I am looking for a good reading list (chapter books, websites, magazines, and poetry).

More Information:
Writing is a struggle for him. Keeping an idea in his head and remembering all of the rules and how to form lower case letters at the same time is very challenging, so I am looking for a Language Arts curriculum that inspires him to want to write.Handwriting is a struggle, but he has asked that we begin learning cursive, so I will give it a try without pushing too hard. I'm trying to decide if narration, dictation, and copy work would be good tools for us to use until he is more developmentally ready to write down his thoughts independently and he will be using software to learn to type to see if that helps him put his thoughts down on paper more easily.
He scores 99th percentile on standardized tests (ERB).

Brady will turn 7 on July first, so he was always the youngest in his class. That is one of the reasons I was willing to take the chance on a year long homeschooling experiment; if I had it to do all over again I would have waited a year to put him in school. We didn't know he was on the Autism Spectrum until he was 5 and he was so bright that I put him in preschool at 3. His teachers said holding him back a year would be a mistake because he was already so bored, and he does very well when worked with one on one, so hopefully I am not damaging him for life!

Is there a standardized test that is a better indicator of understanding and knowledge than the school system typically uses? In Virginia we are required to test each year as proof of progress when homeschooling, but it seems many standardized tests these days are more about the teacher than the student.

Thank you for taking the time to read this, any recommendations at all would be greatly appreciated.

Sincerely, Stephanie

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