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Assessment Terms Defined

Uncategorized Aug 11, 2020

Have you ever heard someone say they hate standardized tests? Or that schools are doing too much standardized testing?

The term “standardized test” is used to lump together all types of group-administered achievement measures given in schools.

Often, the term “standardized test” is confused with the term “norm-referenced” test, although these are two different aspects of assessment.

 Standardized Tests

Standardized tests are given and scored according to standard procedures, typically outlined in an assessment manual.  Standardized procedures allow each student to be compared to every other student who was tested under the same conditions. Training is typically needed to learn to give and score the test according to the standard conditions.

 Norm-Referenced Tests

The term “norm-referenced” has nothing to do with the way a test is given and scored, but instead refers to the way test scores are interpreted.


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Every Word Wants to Be a Sight Word When It Grows Up

Uncategorized Jun 03, 2020

Every Word Wants to be a Sight Word When It Grows Up*

Automatic word recognition is required to facilitate reading comprehension.

To be recognized instantly, words must be stored in long-term memory as wholes, where the spelling, pronunciation, and meaning are fused together.  The whole word must be “mapped” into your memory as an integrated unit.

 The process of storing words for instant recognition follows the same instructional sequence for highly phonetically regular and phonetically less regular words.

  1. access the phonemes in the spoken word
  2. map the phonemes to graphemes
  3. spell and write the word to dictation
  4. practice the word in lists, phrases, sentences and decodable books

 These practices establish the neural connectivity among the letters, sounds, and meaning of the word.

It is the same process for highly regular and less regular words.

The lower the frequency of the word, and the more irregular spelling representations in the word, the more...

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Waiting On The World To Change

Uncategorized May 27, 2020

Lately I’ve been hearing from so many teachers and administrators who have caught the reading science fever. Woo hoo!  Something you read or heard acted like a spark, lighting a fire in those old nagging feelings about the balanced literacy approach not working well enough for your students. Suddenly you see the light and you want to get everyone around you just as excited as you are.

When we find something new that works, we want to shout it from the roof tops! We can’t understand why everyone wouldn’t save themselves the time and heartache and just get onboard with us! This is what works, now just go do it!  This approach rarely works. (I’m remembering one particularly painful holiday visit when I tried to convince my sister to start budgeting.)

Many of you have experienced resistance when trying to get your coworkers onboard with the science of reading. There are some people who just aren’t easily convinced. There might even be some who...

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