All About Assessment

May 6, 2022 12:54:00 PM

Hi Literacy Lovers,

We have so many questions and thoughts about assessments… and we talk about them in this week’s episode with Great Minds’ assessment expert, Lior Klirs. It's a topic that we can’t wait to learn more about together, which is why you can expect a series of assessment podcasts coming your way this summer and fall. We’re so glad you’re here to learn with us!

Expert Lior Klirs speaks in Episode 105, You're Wrong About... Assessment

Learn More

When we think about assessment, our first question is: What are we assessing? 

  1. Assessment of word recognition skills is straightforward to assess and monitor mastery 

  2. Assessment of the multidimensional nature of reading comprehension is much more complicated

Language comprehension and word recognition are the strings that are woven into skilled reading.

We discuss the complicated nature of assessing reading comprehension in this week’s podcast episode, but Hugh Catts also explains it really well in this article: Rethinking How to Promote Reading Comprehension. Read an excerpt below or click the link for the full article.

Implications for Assessment

The multidimensional nature of reading comprehension presents a significant chalenge for assessment. Because of the numerous factors in play, a reader's comprehension ability is more fluid than often thought. In other words, any one individual will have different levels of ability depending on what is read and for what purpose.

We CAN assess word recognition strands as a skill. For example, phoneme segmentation, nonsense word fluency, and auditory processing. We CANNOT assess comprehension as a skill, because it’s dependent on knowledge. Here is an excerpt from another fabulous article by Hugh Catts, Why State Reading Tests Are Poor Benchmarks of Student Success, that discusses the importance of knowledge in assessing reading comprehension.

Whereas state reading tests are generally viewed as measures of students' reading ability, they assess much more than reading. So-called "reading tests" rely heavily on students' general knowledge and language skills (Cervetti & Wright, 2020). In fact, some have gone as far as saying that these reading tests are knowledge tests in disguise (Hirsch, 2016). So as not to bias students with particular knowledge, state reading tests cover a wide range of topics. But, of course, this gives students with broad general knowledge a significant advantage on these tests and presets a serious challenge to those without this knowledge (Hwang & Duke, 2020).

Community and Connection

Join us for Friday Podcast Chat on Facebook Live every Friday where we fill in knowledge gaps for just released episodes! This past Friday, we discussed all things assessment - skills vs. knowledge. In case you missed it, find the recording here


Huge shout out to Brendan Lee @learnwithmrlee for a spot-on tweet about our latest episode. Check out the thread on Twitter!

Lior and Brendan both mention the Data, Information, Knowledge, Wisdom pyramid, and here is a visual that shows the important steps when analyzing and processing data.

Data, information, knowledge, and wisdom pyramid where each step up the pyramid answers questions about and adds value to the initial data.

Upcoming Literacy Events

Our friends at Parents for Reading Justice (formerly Our Dyslexic Children) are excited to announce Phase 5 of their non-profit mission! Join Parents for Reading Justice on Wednesday May 18 at 7:00 PM EST for a ZOOM panel discussion with special guests, Kareem Weaver of the Oakland NAACP and Fulcrum, Dr Steven Dykstra, clinical psychologist in Milwaukee, Wisconsin and Dr Louisa Moats, President Moats Consulting Associates, Inc.

Register in advance for the panel discussion on Wednesday May 18 at 7:00 PM EST.

We can’t wait for this awesome event.  Hope to see you there!  

Panel discussion hosted by Kareem Weaver, Louisa Moats, and Steven Dykstra.

Related Episodes  

Over 100 Episodes

Melissa & Lori have over 100 podcast episodes available now on your favorite streaming service. Listen now as they discuss new ways to think about teaching reading and writing with educators and experts in the field.