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Assessing students' needs in literacy development

After teaching a lesson, a teacher must assess what students have learned. If the teacher finds that most of the students have not learned the objectives, the teacher must change the lesson and teach the skill again. If the teacher finds that only a few of the students did not learn the information, the teacher must re-teach just those few students in a small group lesson. The only way to determine student literacy development is to assess students throughout the year. Standardized testing does not occur often enough to stand as the only strategy for assessing students, so teachers must learn how to design their own informal assessments. An online Master of Education in Curriculum and Instruction with an emphasis in Literacy Studies can help you do just that.

Make sure students know how they are being assessed

Students who understand why they are learning material as well as how the teacher will assess them can prepare better. When teachers communicate the purpose of the lesson, they teach students to be responsible for their own literacy development. A very useful strategy teachers can employ to build community is to ask students to help create the assessment that their teachers will use. The students might participate in a game mimicking the television show Jeopardy wherein students will see the answer and must ask the question in a team format. As students in an online M.Ed. in Curriculum and Instruction with an emphasis in Literacy Studies, teachers will learn to develop assessments that include students so they can be purposeful and successful.

Make sure assessments share meaningful information

When students are learning complicated processes such as how to read and write, they may understand some pieces but lack knowledge in others. A good assessment will detect where the holes in their literacy development are so that teachers can restructure their teaching to meet those needs. Thoughtfully planned and implemented assessments make it possible to use one instrument to identify many areas of both strength and need. An online literacy assessment course may be helpful in creating assessments for your class as you teach it. You can accomplish this with an online M.Ed. in Curriculum and Instruction with an emphasis in Literacy Studies.

Authentic assessment

Authentic assessment is usually teacher-created to assess student literacy development. Examples of these measurements are open-ended questions, written compositions, oral presentations, projects, experiments, and portfolios of student work. Authentic assessments ensure that the information being measured matches the instruction. Effective assessments give students feedback on how well they understand the information and on what they need to improve, while helping teachers better design instruction. Authentic assessment can include many of the following:

  • Observation
  • Essays
  • Interviews
  • Performance tasks
  • Exhibitions and demonstrations
  • Portfolios
  • Journals
  • Teacher-created tests
  • Rubrics
  • Self- and peer-evaluation

Teachers who pursue an online M.Ed. in Curriculum and Instruction with an emphasis in Literacy Studies can become experts in authentic assessment, which will positively affect student literacy development. The more students understand the connection between learning and assessment, the more they will begin to use the learning in their everyday literacy activities.

Learn more about UTA’s online Master of Education in Curriculum and Instruction with an Emphasis in Literacy Studies program.


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