Literacy Questions: Where are our students at? How do we know?
Our staff had been discussing concerns about our students' literacy development/skills, and so the questions posed were: Where are our students at? How do we know? Now that we know, what do we do next?
This year, our staff worked collaboratively and effectively in going about administering literacy assessments with all students in Divisions 4-10 in the fall. Students that teachers had curiousities about in Divisions 1-3 also had literacy assessments completed. Before we go to this point, however, we had to discuss WHAT common assessments we were going to use, and then WHAT we would do once the assessments were completed. Our non-enrolling staff, classroom teachers, school administrator, and district staff worked together to discuss what this would look like: some staff had never used assessements such as the PM Benchmark or the Fountas and Pinnell assessments, some had a limited knowledge of either one/both, while others had a depth of experience/knowledge in how to administer the assessments, interpret them, and then use them to guide instruction for our students. So the first step was ensuring that staff felt confident in using either the PM Benchmark or the Fountas and Pinnell assessments----as a group, we collectively supported one another and built capacity within our team so that staff felt comfortable with either/both of these literacy assessments. As a school, we also agreed that doing a fall assessment would be crucial to help us not only in knowing our students' strengths/needs, but also to help us in our planning to ensure our students were getting targeted support to help them in their literacy development. We also agreed to do ongoing assessments, and to do a final assessment in the third term to monitor our students' progress.
Our ultimate goals? To ensure each child feels that he is a reader, and that he/she improves as a learner---and that they know we recognize that each student learns at his/her own pace, time, and in his/her own way.