Thursday, September 22, 2011

Assessing Reading Skills of Students with Special Needs @kmkenny89 #sped #spedchat

This is a guest post by Kaylyn Kenny (@kmkenny89). Kaylyn is a student at Illinois State University who is majoring in special education. I recently "met" Kaylyn on Twitter during this week's #spedchat, which was an open forum. You can view the transcript here. Kaylyn chimed right in asking, "learning about assessing students...any advice? I have to do a lot of assessing this semester." Her question generated several responses. I then asked if she would be interested in writing a guest post and she agreed.

Here at Illinois State University, as part of our courses on curriculum and instruction we have to assess and tutor students around the rural area. We first make an assessment toolkit. In the assessment toolkit, we need teacher materials, anecdotal notes, and data analysis forms.

One of the first assessments we use to assess to our students is the Burke Reading Interview, which helps us know what type of reader the student is along with how comfortable they are with reading. One of the main points of assessing is to make sure every student goes through the reading process while they are reading. First, they need to activate their schema. They can do that by sampling the text, anticipating or predicting, and monitoring their reading (Does it make sense? Does it sound right? Does it look right?). They can connect the sample to their own lives or background knowledge. Then they will either confirm or disconfirm what they have read. If they confirm, they will self correct right away. And if they disconfirm, they will search for the word or sentence then they will self correct or even skip the word.

We can also assess with the HT (hypothesis test) process. This is where teachers record and observe what the student does before, during and after a student is reading. Then we interpret why the student is doing the actions we observe and make an hypothesis with the observations and interpretations we have wrote down. The most important part is making a curricular decision for the student when we teach them. Reading is a complex process of solving and meaning.

- Kaylyn

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