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.
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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.