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Reading Testing
Old 01-12-2019, 03:40 PM
 
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Hi,

I am asking this as a parent. Our school does Fountas-Pinnell testing at a few points during the year. I was wondering if anyone has any experience with that testing? Do you stop after testing one level at a perfect score without going on, or do you continue the testing until they don't perform as well to find their reading level? Just wondering because my son was only tested at a level D, he got a perfect score, and then he was no longer tested and just tossed into the next level, where he's been held at since November. He told me the other day when he came home with another book from teacher center that "teacher center is boring" and he was tired of reading "baby books" and wanted to read something that didn't repeat so much. I try to let him read all he wants at home and he loves to read but I'm afraid that this stagnation is going to turn him off to reading in school. He's only in kindergarten so that's pretty early to start disliking school. I borrowed some leveled readers from the reading teacher in the school building where I work and he's been independently reading and highly enjoying the level "L" readers I brought home. At school his teacher has him stuck at a level E. Are they only allowed to move him one level at a time with the testing? Just curious...


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Old 01-12-2019, 04:34 PM
 
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I do not know what policy the school may have set, but with Fountas-Pinnell, you do not stop at the first passed test. I take my second graders to the point where I know both their independent level and their instructional level. Keep in mind that the comprehension and fluency must be there for me to move them forward. You may have to watch some of the content if your little one is in kindergarten and reading L (DRA 24) and moving higher.

When I say I do not know what policy your school may have set I mean I do not know their cap for testing. In my district, I am not allowed to test a second grader beyond a level 40. That does not mean that I cannot instruct them at that level, it just means they should not be exposed to the testing materials beyond a 40 in the second grade.

If your son is really a level L and he is learing at a level E (DRA 8) I bet he is bored. Good luck
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Old 01-12-2019, 05:06 PM
 
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Thank you for your reply. That's what I thought the testing was supposed to be like from what I'd seen in the past as even just a substitute teacher. I was able to snag a level J, "The Problem with Meli", and two level L, "From Milk to Ice Cream" and "Jack and the Beanstalk" from the reading teacher in my building. Having never seen the books, he opened them up and read all three independently with no problems and was able to answer questions I asked him. Maybe those aren't really the type of books they would look for if he were to be placed at that reading level? Our school is supposed to be doing testing this month, so hoping they will do it properly this time unless they aren't looking to find his potential. I know his teacher laid out to me her "plan" to have him at an H at the end of the year. Why must it be so if he can already do it now? Maybe they want him to have read a couple of chapter books first? I have no idea.
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We've used Fountas-Pinnell for years
Old 01-12-2019, 06:16 PM
 
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The student would be reading on an independent level at that level if he scores
95-100 percent and can answer comprehension questions. If he scores 90-94 percent, he is on his instructional level, and anything below 90 percent is considered frustration level. If he is tested on a book where he is considered on the independent level, he should be tested on a higher level, and continue until they find his frustration level, keeping in mind that he must answer comprehension questions correctly, and have acceptable fluency.
I would say that you might want to get lots of books from the library, and read with him at home. It could be that there are no other kids in his class that are reading on is level, and they don't have a group he can fit into. It's no fun to read without a group.
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Reading testing
Old 01-12-2019, 08:49 PM
 
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We used DRA, which quite similar. Our instructions were to continue testing to the next grades end of year benchmark.

For me,it made more sense to continue testing until I knew exactly their level. Otherwise, how will I know what to teach them? Just because they tested out of their grade level doesn’t mean you stop teaching them.

I would go to teacher and ask her to continue testing him.


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Reading tests
Old 01-13-2019, 09:02 AM
 
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I’ve learned that schools use F&P testing differently.

I start with assessment book based on last K level that was tested. I can tell very quickly if the book is too easy or too hard. I keep going up or down until I find the instructional level for each child.

We expect at least 96% accuracy (prefer 97%) fluency score of 2(out of 3) and satisfactory comprehension. I assess again often for lower levels. So for my kids at level F that started at C or D, they have been assessed four times so far this year. I decide to do assessment by doing running records on kids reading their guided reading books.

You could ask your son’s teacher to allow him to bring in books from home to read independently. Also, maybe she would be willing to let him begin to write responses to the easy group books. In 25 years, I have never seen a super K reader be equally skilled at writing (not talking about handwriting) so that’s a way to challenge him. Good luck and keep advocating for your child!
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Old 01-13-2019, 04:59 PM
 
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Thank you for all of your feedback--it is very helpful!

linda2671--Thank you for the additional information about the testing. We go to the library alot...may be why we're in this mess now! But we will keep visiting the library and hopefully continue to foster his interest in reading at home.

Keltikmom--I love the way you approach the testing with your own students. I guess at the end of this week or beginning of next week they will be testing all of kindergarten, so fingers crossed that they continue to test rather than stopping at the level he's already at when he gets a perfect score.

Marcimcg--I love the writing idea! You are right, that would really challenge him if his teacher will go for it. I think he would love to learn how to construct a sentence and put his ideas into words. Maybe I will do that with him if his teacher won't. I used to send in books from home, but that would get him in trouble because he would read them at snack time and I guess he would take too long eating his snack. Besides recess, I think that's the only other down time they have and no way would she let him read a book from home in reading group.
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F & p
Old 01-14-2019, 05:00 AM
 
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The "test" is called the Benchmark Assessment System and is designed to determine a child's independent, instructional, and frustration levels. So, no, the teacher (and school) are not using it correctly. Some Kindergarten teachers resist placing kids at higher levels and honestly, the content in some L level books would not be appropriate for your child. That does not mean he should not be receiving instruction within his zone. Perhaps this teacher is inexperienced and doesn't know what to do with a high reader like your son?

Last edited by readerleader; 01-14-2019 at 05:46 AM..
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Old 01-14-2019, 12:04 PM
 
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readerleader--Thank you for your input. My son's comments about how boring reading is at school and how he doesn't want to go to school and have to read baby books are making me wonder if this experience is going to set him up for failure. If he was simply allowed to read more, that would make school a much better and more interesting place for him right now. There must be a selection of books at his level that would be appropriate. The two that were labelled "L" that I brought home seemed to be fine. But, maybe they want him to be writing better before they move him up in reading so he can construct responses on paper? I'm trying to rationalize this. His teacher actually specializes in reading but she is new to being a K teacher, so it's probably new territory for her.
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Old 01-27-2019, 04:35 AM
 
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I am wondering just how invested your son’s school is with Fountas & Pinnell? The info you got from others is correct (assessing to get his highest instructional level— which basically equates to frustration level ). In our district we do not instruct more than 1 year above their current grade level. Now, there are of course many students that may be reading more than a year above grade level, but what F&P recommend is to dig into the Continuum and go deeper into the With In, About, and Beyond the Text Reading Behaviors and find your teaching points for instruction there. There is a month by month progress monitoring chart that lets teachers know which Guided Reading level students should be at for each grade level. Their website has that as well as a lot of other interesting info (for literacy geeks like me )

With him being an advanced reader, his teacher should be progress monitoring him at least once every 4 weeks. Below level readers need to be progress monitored more frequently. Not with the Benchmark Assessment System ( that should only be used about 3 times a year) but with informal running records. Those could be done with leveled guided reading books. Some of the book titles you mentioned sound like they came from the LLI kit. Those are used generally used for tier 2 or 3 interventions.

Here is a link to the month by month progress monitoring chart https://www.fountasandpinnell.com/Au...el_OCT2017.pdf


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Old 01-30-2019, 12:15 PM
 
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Bear in mind that the scoring of F &P Benchmark Assessments takes into consideration every error the student makes, fluency/prosody, and comprehension. The comprehension questions are very specific and become increasingly difficult as a student progresses on the continuum. It’s not unusual for students to sail through the text (decoding) only to score ‘unsatisfactory’ on the comprehension questions.

Also, ‘instructional’ level by definition indicates a level of reader frustration - the level that is deemed acceptable. Offering texts that have an even higher level of frustration is not a good use of my time (or the students). Benchmarking is supposed to be based on cold reads, and if I have exposed a student to a text beyond their instructional level, then it skews the validity of the cold read in future testing.

At home you can work with your student on building vocabulary - for example a level L book might have words such as ‘chandelier’ or ‘acquiesce’. Many primary students simply haven’t developed the background information to comprehend these texts. And that’s okay! It’s a process. Continue to expose your child to quality experiences that build knowledge. Feed his love of reading at the library and at home.

Lastly, students who are gifted will almost certainly face impatience and frustration at school (and at future employment) at one point or another. The challenge as a parent is to help the student find ways to deal with these feelings while advocating for supports. In the long run, a successful student is one that is resilient.
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Dibels
Old 05-12-2019, 08:14 PM
 
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I know you were asking about the F and P test. Several years ago when Dibels was the craze ,my grandson who could already read ( because I taught him) was tested in K . Results / high risk. Long / short he tested that Jan and was above Benchmark . Now the kid is finishing 4 th grade reading David Copperfield. Houston, we have a problem. As a grandmother, I just laugh and shake my head. Good luck!
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Old 05-13-2019, 05:06 PM
 
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Thank you all for the insights and replies! My son is now coming home with the "H" reader (where the teacher told me she wanted to stop him at the end of his kindergarten year back in November). Still seems bored with the text, but we visit the public library often, and he can take out as many books as he likes when he's there (unlike at school where he can only check out one). Honestly, as long as he's getting to read what he loves at home and getting the stimulation, I'm not as concerned with what level they are wanting to stop him at in school. He's been developing a love for simpler chapter books like "The Magic Tree House" series, so I figure, we'll just go with it and see where his love for books takes him.
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Old 05-18-2019, 03:46 AM
 
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Hi, I just want to say back to you as a parent and a teacher (who has been there) while I understand..... your child is just saying words. It will pass. He wants to feel like a big boy and good on him. BUT consider this....

OK so you get your ‘wish’ and can pop your child on the hardest instructional text possible....

Then your Kindergartener child is reading about eg. snowboarding in the alps and needs to answer specific questions with figures to comprehend such as being 5000 feet above sea level. Gone are his laughs and smiles.

Ok so one of our harder levels ARE about subjects as advanced as this. How will you and he feel then? We must remember that instructional or not, reading needs to be fun, imaginative and enjoyable for as long as possible. With lots of laughs. I’d much rather my child reread The Wonky Donkey a hundred times than read about something so irrelevant such as sport in the alps, or a biography of some politician.

Ideas... get him to start writing book reviews. Make bookmarks. Help him to help others in his class by making little bookmarks with reading strategies he already knows. Have him write in different genres. Have him respect the levelled books he is given and if easy. Do something with them. Read aloud to him any text you like. Make those ones harder! Ask your husband to read aloud to him. Your child needs the gift of being read aloud to even when he can read. Support your child to progress right through the Dr Seuss series yourself. Zac Power books, Scooby Doo, Hey Jack books etc.

Don’t worry about levels as much, or you are no different from the predictable anxious parent always at my door. You know he can read. Switch it up. But be glad. Be satisfied.
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Old 05-19-2019, 06:22 AM
 
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You sound like you've seen everything, and I'm so glad for your feedback. Funny, my son would probably enjoy reading about the Alps... Yes, I have been reading to him since he was a baby. Probably how he picked up a love for reading. I still read to him as much as I can when he's not in school, although most of the time he would rather read to me than be read to.
Makes me a little sad, but I'm also very proud of him. I am not rich. We could not afford the highly expensive local preschool (preschool is the "new" kindergarten). But he attended the public library's story time from the time he was in a stroller. I read him the 1,000+ books before kindergarten (when he was 4 the program came out at their library). We have lots of favorite books cluttering a bookcase from the time he was a baby to now, and many on his own bookshelf in his room (my husband built one into his wall). He has lots of science books which he loves. When he reads, he actually understands what he's reading so it's not just saying words. His favorite way to stay up after bedtime is to sneak and silently read with a flashlight. I feel bad having to tell him to put it away and go to bed, but if it's a school night I know he'll be super tired in the morning. (He usually is anyway...naps aren't a thing in kindergarten anymore.)
Right now he's into the Fly Guy series and loves the non-fiction segment of the series almost as much as the silly fiction stories. He was thrilled because the librarian "let him" take one out of school the other day (she usually won't let kindergarteners check out anything over a level "D" which is also stupid). Yes, materials at school can be dry sometimes...especially when access to interesting texts is "restricted". But, again, this is why we visit the public library.
I am sorry that you think young children who can read are merely "saying words" and not understanding the text. If I doubted everything a child could do, I would have a hard time being a teacher. In my experience, encouragement is the best way to nurture growth. Making assumptions about a child's abilities is counterproductive to teaching and learning.
I'm not saying they should just move him up to a Z or something too advanced, but at least if they let him read where he's capable. Putting limitations on a child's love of learning because of what "the state" or "Ms. Jones" allows a child to read to at a certain age is ridiculous in my mind. Just like "scripting" the way something is taught rather than allow for creativity. These are all ideas that persist in many schools today, but continue to be foreign to me. I'm learning to adapt, however, as both a parent and a teacher. I will teach my children to adapt in the same way.

Last edited by mommysubs; 05-19-2019 at 09:27 AM..
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Miscommunicated? 😏 And more ideas. 🤗
Old 05-20-2019, 03:28 AM
 
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Hi, sorry but I think you have misinterpreted what I said or I wasn’t clear.

When I said your son is ‘just saying words, it will pass’ , I was referring to his own statements as disliking school, saying he was borrowing baby books etc
What you think I meant was that he is ‘barking at words’.... a term we use here when a child can read pretty much anything but lacks comprehension.

Just to point out though the teacher and Librarian is likely assuming that a K child simply does not have the life experience to understand other content and remember, some words in older books would not appropriate anyway yet for him. But you can explain to the teachers that he has the capacity if you don’t mind them not scouring every page for inappropriate language first!!

Of course I get that lots of kids have great skills plus comprehension. Just don’t get so caught up and stressed. There is more to life. He has soooo much of a range now to read at the level you know he is. Dr Seuss I have suggested. The Lorax etc. The public library is actually a great asset for you. Ideas—- instead of physical books, you can get nature magazines, buy fun activity/fact books and boys magazines, a free subscription to Tumblebooks and reading sites online. Again, writing reports and book reviews. Making a board game of his fave space book. There are also sites to join and freebies like storynory and storybook online, so you can use these too.

He will be fine. All will be well.
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Old 05-20-2019, 04:11 PM
 
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Thank you so much for the recommendations. Sorry that I misinterpreted what you said.. We have lots of Dr. Seuss here. Some of the lesser known ones are a little bizarre and I wouldn't deem very appropriate for my son (my husband found an entire collection of Dr. Seuss at a garage sale years ago) but the more well known are good. We also have a Cat in the Hat series which covers various topics like weather and animals and such. They are written in rhyme and are fun to read. My mom gave him a 1 year subscription to the magazine, Highlights, for Christmas and he really enjoys the little stories and puzzles inside. We don't do any screen time at home--he gets plenty of screen time for his young age at school with 45 minutes of i-ready diagnostics in one day not to mention computers and i-pads at centers, so I won't be getting him online anytime soon. But maybe that's something he would like in the farther future. I'm looking forward to having him home for the summer. Playing outside, riding bikes, gardening, getting ice cream, and taking our favorite books to the park to read after enjoying a picnic. Can't wait!
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