My child’s teacher has informed me that she only went up one reading level this quarter on her most recent assessment. I don’t want her to fall behind. How has this happened? She is still on grade level, but is expected to make more growth next quarter in order to stay there. Should I be concerned?
Please don’t jump to conclusions. Traditionally standardized testing has always been the main way that we measure progress in students. People have a tendency to think of learning as occurring in a linear manner. However, this is not the case. Think about your experience learning how to ride a bike. Did you do a little bit better every time? Reading is in many ways like learning how to ride a bike. It’s not linear. There are so many components involved and you can’t work on all of them at the same time. You learn different tasks along the way and when you start to put everything together you’re a little unsteady. You might ride for a block and then fall down, but you’re still learning. You’re not going backward. You’re going forward because you’re practicing every day. Eventually, everything clicks and you’re riding like a pro. It’s the same with reading. When a child or an adult for that matter, comes to a plateau they are still learning. A plateau is a way of making connections and building a stronger foundation so we can continue to learn. This is not something that can be MEASURED ON PAPER through a formal assessment. A plateau is a natural and necessary part of the learning curve. During this time frame students are putting everything together and creating multiple connections as the new information becomes second nature to them. Formal assessments are only part of the picture. How is she doing on informal assessments, such as direct observation, quizzes, portfolios, homework and project based assignments. It’s important to get the big picture and one test won’t provide that. The link below provides a chart with reading levels for grades K-5 and will give you a better understanding of what level your child is currently reading at. If you still have concerns please don’t hesitate to send an email or request another conference.