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Teaching Tips

Success with Assessments: Meeting Students Where They Are

May 4, 2023

by: Krysten Maddocks

5 mins


Students often lose the learning gains they’ve made over the school year while on summer break, studies show. The summer learning loss phenomena, unfortunately, can be one of the downfalls of a restful vacation. In many cases, students might have been struggling prior to the end of the school year—making it even more difficult for them to acclimate to a new grade—and equally difficult for you to determine what kind of instruction they need.  

To effectively reach all your students, it’s important to know their skill levels to match them to the appropriate resources. Not only will it help you gauge each child’s proficiency, but it also serves as the foundation for which you can measure students’ academic growth over the course of the year. 

Teachers can’t spend valuable instructional time conducting long assessments. Yet, students who aren’t assessed properly are more likely to face performance issues later. Learning Without Tears offers ways you can assess students confidently, regularly, and quickly. Here are some of the tools we offer that you can start using to get on the right track this year. 

Bright Beginnings: Assessing in Pre-K   

Determine how much your little learners know and can do to set the stage for their first school experience. Designed for Pre-K classrooms, Assessments to Guide Instruction is included with the Get Set for School® program.  

Get Set for School is a full Pre-K curriculum that provides instruction across six domains, including readiness and writing, language and literacy, numbers and math, science and social studies, physical development, and social-emotional learning. 

As part of the Pre-K Interactive Teaching Tool, you can deploy assessments that can: 

  • Identify skills your students need to improve 
  • Enable data-driven enhancements for your instruction 
  • Visualize student reports and share with families and administrators 
  • Organize your assessments in a digital dashboard 
  • Ensure student success over time with digital process monitoring. 

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Differentiate Reading Instruction Effectively   

Reading is not a natural process and does not come easily to all students. Phonics, Reading, and Me™ was designed to maximize the effectiveness of teachers, saving them time while keeping all students on track for reading success. In this early reading program, students in Grades K−3 systematically build their phonemic awareness and reading fluency with print and digital texts.  

First, you can use its voice-enabled oral reading screening tool, powered by SoapBox, to assess fluency and put your students on a personalized reading path that takes into account their skill levels. Regular assessment checkpoints throughout the year ensure that the program’s scaffolds and resources address all students’ needs. Teachers can use built-in instructional supports, along with activities that stretch to meet their growing reading capabilities. With built-in formative assessments at the end of each lesson, unit, and at the end of the year, you’ll know which phonics skills your students have mastered. 

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Get Insightful Data on Handwriting 

Are your students having trouble putting words on paper? Handwriting is a key skill that lasts a lifetime. If your students struggle with writing mechanics, it can lead to more complex challenges down the road if not remediated. It can be challenging to discern how significantly a lack of handwriting practice contributes to difficulty with writing.  

The Screener of Handwriting Proficiency is a free, easy-to-use tool for Grades K–5 that can help you better understand where students are in their writing journeys. In just 10-15 minutes, the Screener can identify and address these areas of struggle. Then, you can score their assessments online and instantly receive individual and class reports with personalized learning strategies targeted to each student’s area of need, helping you better focus your handwriting instruction. 

Need more resources? Our Handwriting Without Tears® program provides students in Grades K−5 with the explicit, direct instruction and purposeful practice they need to master print and cursive handwriting and automaticity. 

Try Screener Today  

Prepare Students for the Digital World 

Today’s students need keyboarding skills more than ever before in our increasingly digital world. Learning how to type is now a foundational skill that students use to complete accountability assessments and throughout their academic careers and beyond. But we recognize that not every student starts at the same proficiency level. 

The Keyboarding Without Tears® journey starts at the Home Row and follows a developmental progression toward keyboarding competency and confidence in online testing. You can see how well students are progressing throughout the year. Through Spot Checks for Speed and Accuracy, which measures student improvement at several intervals over 36 weeks, you’ll benefit from built-in assessments that show how well students are able to type letters, words, sentences, and paragraphs.  

The program also includes an Assessment Accelerator module, which prepares students for online tests by building their skills in areas such as construct-a-response, highlighting, graphing, equation building, and more. 

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