Back-to-School Assessing Made Easy

As an Intervention Specialist, I understand the importance of assessing my students on an ongoing basis.  It can be overwhelming at the beginning of a school year to assess all of my students.  I have their Individualized Education Programs (IEPs), but they are often not at that level due to the dreaded summer slide.  I believe the best way to teach ALL students is to begin at the level they are at currently and take them as far as possible.  In order to do this, however, I need to know what their current skill levels are.  That’s where my Assessment Binder comes in handy!

The assessments I give include:

  • Sight Word Spelling Test
  • Instant Word Identification Assessment (I use Fry’s Most Commonly Used Words list)
  • Running Record & Comprehension Check (from
  • Cloze Reading Assessment
  • Writing Assessment (that can be used with ANY writing prompt or sample)
  • General Math Assessment
  • Basic Math Facts Assessments (I only test addition, subtraction, and multiplication)

The Sight Word Spelling Test I give is from a list of words included in our phonics program, Phonics First, which is based on the Orton-Gillingham multisensory instructional techniques.  If a student can correctly spell a word, it is a good indication that they know that word.  I use Fry’s word list to check their sight word identification.  This is time-consuming, so I only assess this 2 or 3 times a year.

I also do running records and check comprehension using ReadingA-Z’s benchmark books.  I do this so that I can assign them a level on Raz-Kids, which drives my instruction tremendously while simultaneously giving me great data for progress reports.  The ReadingA-Z site provides a correlation chart, so I am easily able to inform team members what DRA, Fountas & Pinnell, Reading Recovery, or grade level the student is, as well as their A-Z level.  I prefer to use the A-Z leveling system, because there are more than 26 levels that range from kindergarten to fifth grade…and my students need to be able to show growth, no matter how small.

I create a cloze reading assessment (a paragraph or two with fill in the blanks and a word box) by copying from grade level trade books.  I try to use high-interest passages, to entice them to want to continue reading.

For a writing assessment, I created a checklist that I can use with any writing sample.  I am able to give them a writing prompt or use a journal entry to check their writing skills.  Writing is the most difficult subject for all of them, so the checklist works well.

Click here to purchase the spiral math assessment pictured above.

For math, I use spiral math assessments.  Each assessment covers the same skills, allowing me to truly track students’ progress throughout the year!  They cover ordering numbers, place value, rounding, addition (with and without regrouping), subtraction (with and without regrouping), telling time, elapsed time, fractions, and word problems (both single-step and multi-step).  I also like to test their basic fact knowledge, which I do with the help of an iPad app.  I have to rotate them through the iPads (I have 3 to use at school), but it is worth it for me to NOT have to grade those things!

I have data collection forms for most of the above assessments.  Just click here to download them for yourself.  🙂

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