There are many types of reading assessments. Informally, many teachers design their own reading tests to determine how their students are performing in areas related to the classroom curriculum.
A teacher may design a test each week to measure her students’ recall or recognition of words (such as Dolce Words) used in the stories they are reading. Or a teacher may design a test to measure her students’ ability to sound out new words using short or long vowels or other phonics rules they were taught in class.
Criterion-referenced tests designed to measure students’ attainment of various reading components are commonly used by classroom teachers. For example, a kindergarten teacher may use a criterion-referenced to test to measure her students’ knowledge of the alphabetic principle. She likely administers this test many times over the course of the school year to measure her students’ progress learning all the letter names and sounds.
Norm-referenced tests, which are formal assessment measures, are used to measure students’ progress compared to other students across the nation in their grade and at their age level on various academic tasks and skills in reading. For example, a third grader may be asked to read a list of vocabulary words which are determined to be appropriate for students in third grade. If the child is able to read all the words, she is performing at her grade level on this vocabulary test.
Dr. Cheryl Irish has over twenty-five years of experience in special education. With 15 years as a professor in teacher education – special education, she is currently working as Director of Accreditation and Assessment at Miami University in Ohio. She manages assessment and accreditation for programs that prepare education professionals for work in schools and preK-12 classrooms.
Her favorite courses relate to special education assessment and assessment for learning. She has taught classes in many types of assessment, classroom and behavior management, learning disabilities, behavior disorders, communication and collaboration, and intervention strategies.
Volunteering in the schools as tutor and teacher’s aide is a special blessing, as is traveling overseas to provide assessment services and in service training for parents and teachers of missionary, business, or military children with special learning needs. She and her husband have three children. Cheryl has experienced special education from the perspectives of mom and teacher.
As the mother of a child who had a stroke at birth, Cheryl knows what it’s like to work alongside special education teachers and therapists to plan and implement individualized family service plans and individualized education programs. With master’s and doctoral degrees in special education, Cheryl’s desire is to help teachers and families understand special education and increase student learning.