3rd Grade Students Show Incredible Growth

By on January 31, 2017

About three weeks ago, Mrs. LeMaster started a 3rd grade unit on reading opinion. State literacy standards ask students to write opinion pieces that are supported with reasons, so it makes sense to have them read and identify opinions and reasons in a text. This is a success story about a teacher who targeted a specific literacy standard over a three week period, used research-based teaching practices, and as a result, saw her students grow. 

Okay. Total transparency. The teacher I am talking about this week is my very talented wife. 

Mrs. LeMaster began her three week unit with a short pre-assessment. She built a four question, formative assessment with LiteracyTA's assessment tool to learn precisely what her students understood about opinion statements and reasoning. The results were immediate. Two students were proficient, scoring between 70-100%. The other 25 students scored 69% and below.  

Here are the results of Mrs. LeMaster's pre-assessment.

In the LeMaster household, we get excited when we see lots of red from a pre-test. The red tells us what we need to teach. Although there is a lot of red, it isn't overwhelming because the assessment had four questions. The data is specific and actionable. Mrs. LeMaster can easily use the results to target specific learning gaps. For example, most of her students missed the last question that asks them to identify where in the text the author restates the opinion. Most teachers would see the 90% incorrect and conclude that students are still learning how to identify an opinion in a text. And this may be true for some students. However, during the test, students were encouraged to give feedback about their confidence level. This is a feature of the Practice Assessments. Students can explain why they think they got a question wrong. Mrs. LeMaster's students told her that they didn't know the meaning of the word "restates." This information was helpful. After the pre-assessment, she taught a mini-lesson on "restates."

The data that Mrs. LeMaster used was unique because it came from what students digitally marked on a screen. They couldn't choose one answer from a list of possible answers. They had to find the information in the text without any help. They couldn't game the test. They had to know the answer. 

The data generated by the LiteracyTA assessment tool gives reading scores, student answers (what they highlighted), student confidence level per question, and student feedback. Students are fully engaged in the formative process because we ask them to reflect on and explain their data.

Here are the results of Mrs. LeMaster's practice assessment.

Notice, scores are improving. Averages are rising. Confidence levels are up. 

During the three weeks, Mrs. LeMaster taught more than opinion and reasoning. She is an Elementary school teacher, after all. However, this was her focus for reading non-fiction. And since she used LiteracyTA's assessment tool, she was able to give quick assessments that took less than 10 minutes each time. These short tests allowed her to frequently check in with her students and adjust her teaching based on the immediate results.

Here are the results of Mrs. LeMaster's final assessment compared to the first two assessments. 

In three weeks, Mrs. LeMaster flipped her data. Week 1, she had two students proficient. After the third assessment, Mrs. LeMaster had 16 students proficient. She has more work to do, but her students grew! The class average improved by 31% which is exactly what research says will happen if you give students immediate, quality feedback and explicit instruction that targets learning gaps. 

Mrs. LeMaster's three week unit consisted of five short texts and three assessments. Here is a breakdown.

  • Opinion text 1: Pre-assessment
  • Explicitly teach opinion text 1 after the assessment (show errors)
  • Opinion text 2: Direct instruction and practice
  • Opinion text 3: Practice assessment
  • Explicitly teach opinion text 3 after the assessment (show errors)
  • Opinion text 4: Direct instruction and practice
  • Opinion text 5: Growth (final) assessment

LiteracyTA's assessment tool leads to student improvement. Do you want to see this type of growth with your students? Learn how an 8th grade class experienced similar results. 

Learn more about our assessment tool and LTA Toolkit Team.


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Literacy Standards In Action

We've mapped our literacy lessons and reading, speaking, and writing skills to state standards, Common Core, and NGSS. The standards are "the what" to teach. Our lessons are "the how" to meet the expectations defined by the standards. Click on the links below to view our quick reference table that maps standards to literacy lessons.

Read closely to determine what the text says explicitly and to make logical inferences from it; and cite specific evidence when writing or speaking to support conclusions drawn from the text.
Determine central ideas or themes of a text and analyze their development; summarize the key supporting details and ideas.
Analyze the structure of texts, including how specific sentences, paragraphs, and large portions of the text relate to each other and the whole.
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