As part of the reading curriculum, there are comprehension tests at the end of each story and a benchmark test at the end of each unit.  These tests ask questions about comprehension, phonics, high frequency words, and vocabulary.


At the beginning of the school year, we completed these tests as a whole class to introduce the students to the tests.  This was really their first experience taking a test, coming from Kindergarten, so we modeled reading each story and question, going back into the story if you don’t know an answer, and marking an answer.


Recently, we have started taking these same tests on the computer.  Students work independently, and we encourage and remind them to take their time; fortunately, the students can listen to the questions and answer choices.


After a few times, the students are completing these tests independently.  They try their best and overall do a great job.  I help monitor and also sit by certain students to provide encouragement and remind them to read before just clicking.  While I am amazed at the students’ progress and demonstration of their understanding, I also wonder if this is the best form of assessment.  We view these as practice and a check of their understanding, rather than counting them for a grade; if students don’t score well, we will go over those specific questions.  The teachers also view these as practice for MAP testing, and eventually PARCC, to give the students practice taking a test on the computer.  I know these tests are “easy” for teachers and the computer grades it for you; and there’s always the “time excuse”-there’s no time to do anything fun with everything needed to fit into a day.


I’m just observing, thinking, and evaluating…what are your thoughts?  What other forms of assessment have you used for reading comprehension?  Are they more constructive and meaningful?