By Tracy Cantrell
When I first started as an educator, digital reading assessments simply did not exist—and we didn’t think they would for a very long time. Today, with digital assessment tools and 1:1 devices, we now have the luxury of evaluating our students every day if we want. More frequent reading assessments allow us to get to know our students better and provide a more personalized learning experience that is customized to fit their needs.
And on the flip side, students benefit from more frequent assessments, too. Because they take pride in their ability to monitor growth and progress on their own, they’re more motivated to engage and succeed.
Reading Assessments at the Students’ Fingertips
Tracking literacy rates is extremely important in making sure students are reading at grade level, are meeting required standards, and are on the proper path to graduation. At Snelson-Golden Middle School, my students read every morning for 25 to 30 minutes. It is important for them to embrace reading as an everyday activity and to engage with all elements of the reading experience—not just enjoying the act of reading itself, but understanding it by assessing the progress they make.
We’ve made this available to them in several ways:
- During their quiet reading time, I take the opportunity to meet with students one-on-one to discuss their reading progress and overall learning goals.
- We give them access to a digital literacy environment to instantly track and monitor their literacy levels through quizzes and frequent in-platform Lexile assessments
- We try to focus on “measuring reading with reading” by providing students access not only to their quiz scores, but metrics like their time spent reading, books read, and pages read to ensure that students are ultimately engaged with their reading process—not just passing a test at the end of a book.
If students are only assessed at the end of a semester or during state tests, we don’t have the time to provide remediation on specific skills and we are unsure if a student is truly learning and understanding the material.
Using 1:1 devices and digital learning platforms not only gives students the freedom to work at their own pace, but also lets them have their school resources accessible at home.
Educators at my school can easily flip their classrooms using digital reading assessments, and many of them are. Instead of taking time during class to assess students, I can assign reading assessments to be completed at home, analyze the results, and provide feedback and remediation the next day. Doing this has provided me more time to focus on the students while they’re in my class and to see if students are grasping a concept or not.
Students absolutely love using the online assessments better than paper. Today’s generation of students are tech-savvy and enjoy the opportunity to use technology whenever they can. The assessments are quick and provide students with immediate feedback, and the best part is no more bubble forms!
Tracy Cantrell is a gifted-language arts teacher at Snelson-Golden Middle School in Hinesville, Georgia.