This semester, students in READ 6329.01 were asked to contribute a post to this blog.
By J. Zambrano
Becoming aware of the variety of forms to test a child subjectively, I come to the realization that we fail our students dramatically when it comes to analyzing a reading story or article. As educators, we push for our students to select books that they have a personal interest in. Through this process the student will be reading for enjoyment rather than for measurement. Through discussion, we then probe for the child to analyze the story by making connections either in their personal life or using their inference skills. I have come to the understanding that students truly enjoy giving their opinions about how they feel in the reading. Granted, we still have to help shape and mold so they can think at a deeper level. For example, give student the awareness expressing at a higher level phrase such as “Anne has an amazing way of taking care of her pets” rather than “Anne is good with pets.” The element of discussion is so enriching and fundamental in a young reader. The element of observing gives the teacher the opportunity to take mental notes of the student. Giving the child the chance to develop their point of views is priceless when we test the child subjectively. Spending time with the student and getting to know them gives us educators an advantage of fully seeing what the child is capable of doing. Such assessments range from KidWatching to creating a rubric. Yes, these types of assessments require much time from the teacher.
However, standardized testing is also an assessment tool that is needed when you are a student. Unfortunately, it is overpowering the other assessments that can help a student become a better reader. It amazes me how polar opposites KidWatching is compared to a standardized test. We focus much attention to the percentage and what it means in terms of pass that we overlook the student holistically. In doing an assessment such as KidWatching, I have been able to help my students zone in on what he or she can do to be a successful reader.
We want to create a well rounded student that will be able to analyze real world readings. Allowing them to be subjective to the world around them, but when we continue to test them on standardized test that forces a teacher to be objective, we are sending our students crossed signals. We cannot continue to stifle their judgment through a multiple choice process. Otherwise, we are going to create students that will always second guess their judgment and rely on someone to give them the right or wrong answer. By means of doing other forms of assessments, we can help the child expand their thought process.