Understanding human communication 13th edition
Margaret Goldberg is the co-founder of Right to Read Project, a group of teachers, researchers, and activists committed to the pursuit of equity through literacy. Margaret serves as a literacy coach in a large urban district in California and was formerly a classroom teacher and curriculum developer.
All posts are reprinted with permission from the Right to Read Project. Follow the Right to Read Project on Twitter. We see the problem with these limited materials when struggling readers memorize the predictable texts or get stuck because they lack the background knowledge required by the two books at a particular level.
Heinemann has issued three editions of the assessment but has yet to produce any additional texts. Providing more assessment books is challenging because the texts are not authentic, but rather purpose-written assessment materials. Making more books available at a given level would call attention to leveling inconsistencies in the existing materials. Most of us instinctively know the books in BAS are not consistent at a given level and not progressively difficult across levels.
In fact, we select strategically from the book choices. Lexile, cited repeatedly in CCSS appendices, analyzes written text and the features that make it objectively complex, such as decodability, sentence length, word choice.
An objective leveling system confirms our own hunches about the books. Selecting the BAS book The Zoo may lead us to believe that a student reads at Level E, but a closer look reveals that the same child might do just as well reading the Level H book, Trucks. This attention to the disproven three-cueing theory diverts our attention from the fact that an error is simply evidence that the child was unable to apply phonics to accurately read the word.
Assessing students with BAS takes approximately 20 minutes per student, but more reliable oral reading fluency assessments take just 1 minute. By excluding diverse learners from their study, Heinemann ignored the demographics of our classrooms and missed important factors in determining text difficulty.
The books in the assessment represent experiences typical of middle class children eg. Pictures in the books allow some students to cue for words eg. The book Trucks is not a good indicator of whether an English-learner will be able to read other books labeled H by Fountas and Pinnell because it is written in present tense and is more decodable despite snow plow!
If a test has been developed specifically for a certain population eg. Say we were to use the assessment only on proficient English speakers who are reading at grade level and we ignored the miscue analysis, could BAS work then? Attempting to use the data collected from BAS has led many of us to make instructional decisions Irene Fountas and Gay Su Pinnell have spoken against:.
Fountas and Pinnell have stated, repeatedly, that a leveling system is simply a tool for a teacher to use to match students with books. Irene Fountas and Gay Su Pinnell knew that reading one Level E book does not mean that the child will be able to read other books at the level equally well, and yet their names are on an assessment that sells that myth.
As teachers, we are required to spend valuable time administering this poorly constructed assessment on students for whom it was not designed, and to use the data in ways that limit student choice and even limit their access to grade-level content. Janice, I don't know of anything like that for reading but check out "Words Their Way" for spelling.
I used this assessment. It's a tool, like any assessment, and is very helpful for finding a starting point for guided reading groups. For formative assessment purposes Fountas and Pinnell provides a running record form identical to the BAS form for every book in the guided reading library they offer. This article acts as a take down, while championing ORF one-minute assessments. Anyone who has worked In a school that relies on ORFcan attest to the problematic nature of that assessment This article is one-sided.
We should know by now that one size does not fit all. When used properly, the BAS is another tool in our belts as teachers. It provides useful information that can be combined with our other knowledge to serve students well.
You'll love them! The rigid nature of the structure of BAS takes a sound method of assisting children in their literacy development and factoryizes it. The bean counters who are several steps away from the action must love thinking that they have a handle on progress.
There are ups and downs but the direction of progress over time is what is important, rather than an occasional dip sticking.
There is no way a reading conference should take 20 minutes. This tells me children are receiving very few conferences and very little guidance and the teacher is forced into being a technician, meeting outside demands, rather than being an artistic well-informed mentor.
Irene and Gay have always said that levels are tools for teachers, and students need to be taught and given the autonomy to select books for themselves. BAS is also a benchmarking system. It is not meant for frequent progress monitoring. It never has been and it never will. Reading is not just about calling words. It is also about the development of comprehension and meaning. If we are not reading for meaning, then what is the purpose. The author of this article has taken and tried to use a system for a purpose it was not intended for and inferentially misrepresented assumptions as facts.
The reality is no one system is going to be perfect. Some people learn one way. Some learn another. Many need a hybrid of many methods. It is the duty of the educational practitioner to be familiar with multiple approaches to meet the diverse needs of the readers in front of them.
Failure to do so is the true malpractice. American Reading Company has an assessment that is far superior to the F and P benchmark system. This assessment follows a systematic approach which begins with teaching patterns and executive function.
It then teaches students sight words in order to read many books. Once sight words are mastered it begins systematic phonics. I have over simplified the process but it is a great leveling system that helps teachers know exactly what students need to be taught to move to the next level.
As for different assessments google Quick Phonics Probe. That will give a decent look at the students ability to read cvc, ccvc,cvcc, cve word etc. Also the Words Their Way Spelling inventory is great. Lastly a phonemic awareness assessment Rosner or Kilpatrick have ones that are easy to give but provide valuable information!
Then they read a second time to check errors. We use the BAS as promotion criteria. PM more accurate and consistent. Leveling books based length of work and length of sentence does nothing to help children negotiate text, not to love to read books. Schools and libraries that do this short-change children in a significant way Teach them to read and let them pick their own books. Invite them to read what they want and can, not what a test tells them they can. You can also use the PAP. Phonological awareness profile to achieve all your levels.
There are lots of options. Core Phonics is readily available. Look on teacher made resource sites for both teacher made materials and suggestions. I have found teacher made materials that are great as informal assessments. Try words their way. I find it to be the most user friendly, and the simple assessments will give you the information you are looking for.
There are lots of word sorting activities available that coordinate with it, and some great new books are out about fun and effective ways of doing word work. Maybe the Words Their Way spelling inventory? I teach kinder as well. I want someone to make an assessment to tell the students mastery of first CVC words, digraphs, floss words, blends, VCe, words, vowel pairs and so on. I am sure it is out there as I am new to this.
I am teaching Wilson Fundations and adding a whole lot of phonological and phonemic skills. But my kids come in all over the place. I would love an assessment to show me their reading and spelling knowledge so I can make groups of like abilities and teach them from there. Anybody know of something like that? I teach kinder. Amen -- we have some assessments for this in special ed, but I wish my school used something like it in gen ed! Not sure of the copyrights. The decoding surveys that are free from Really Great Reading do a great job with showing which syllable types and features that readers have under control.
Just Google it and you should be able to find it. It has an assessment for the items you mentioned aboved and lessons to complete with students based on their area of need. I believe that assessment is from Words their way. We use it as a spelling assessment 3x a year. It breaks it down by initial sound, digraphs, blends, vowel patterns, etc.
K-2 does 25 or 50 words for Really Great Reading offers some awesome phonics surveys and they are free. I also use the Heggerty phonological awareness surveys from their main site and those are free as well.