Using Informal Assessments in RF. IRI. Michael C. McKenna University of Virginia. Sharon Walpole University of Delaware. Today’s Goals. Define informal assessments and describe their role in reading.
Michael C. McKenna
University of Virginia
University of Delaware
Informal assessment is defined as “appraisal by casual observation and other nonstandardized procedures”
– The Literacy Dictionary (IRA)
An informal assessment “is one in which teacher discretion plays a major part. The teacher, for example, may decide to modify how the test is given, based on early responses given by the student.”
– McKenna & Stahl (2003, p. 24)
An informal assessment can serve as a diagnostic test if it identifies skill deficits. In GARF, an informal assessment would follow a screening test that has identified a weak area. The informal assessment breaks that area down into specific skills.
How do informal assessments fit into GARF?
An IRI combines a number of informal assessments of word recognition and comprehension. It can give tentative answers about certain questions. Let’s look at one …
What about informal reading inventories?
(usually by giving word lists)
A published IRI has many components. Some may be more reliable and more valid than others. It may be better for a teacher to keep a “toolkit” of informal assessments.
Let’s read about why.
Read this article. It critiques the traditional IRI and suggests some cautions and alternatives.
McGee, L. M., & Morrow, L. M. (2005). Teaching literacy in kindergarten. New York: Guilford Press.
McKenna, M. C., & Stahl, S. A. (2003). Assessment for reading instruction. New York: Guilford Press.
Paratore, J. R., & McCormack, R. L. (2005). Teaching literacy in second grade. New York: Guilford Press.
Tyner, B. (2004). Small-group reading instruction: A differentiated teaching model for beginning and struggling readers. Newark, DE: International Reading Association.
Walpole, S., & McKenna, M. C. (2006). The role of informal reading inventories in assessing word recognition. The Reading Teacher, 59, 592-594.