Friday, October 14, 2011

Authentic Evaluation

Question: How can reluctant readers evaluate their performance in a reading class?

Answer: The teacher asks individual students to respond to a series of questions about their performance in the class. Here is one teacher’s questions for “Mike.”

> “When you first came to my class, you jumped right into what we were doing: letter writing, reading, asking questions writing about pheasant hunting. Most kids take a lot of adjusting to all these expectations. Why were you so willing?

> “What was there about this class that made you such a hard worker? You took charge of your own learning like few students I have seen. Why?

> “Describe the class. What do you remember about it?

> “What did you learn about yourself as a reader? As a writer?

> “I had a most puzzling experience concerning you. I did not say anything at the time, but I would like to ask you now.

> “What were the conditions in our class that made it okay for you to be successful? What was missing in other classrooms situations?”

Comment: While some questions will be generic, some will require personal knowledge of each student. Time-consuming, but the answers will provide useful knowledge about the students and your teaching. I’m sorry I did not use such authentic evaluations like these letters with my students. RayS.

Title: “Learning about Reluctant Readers Through Their Letters.” MB. Isakson. Journal of Reading (May 1991), 632-638.

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