Johnny Key

Commissioner of Education

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What is my child learning at school?

Parent Resource Center

Introduction

Throughout the school year, students will be taught lessons based on the Arkansas English Language Arts Standards. Students will be taking several types of assessments to show whether they are on grade level and meeting the expectations outlined in the Arkansas English Language Arts Standards. 

Standards

The Arkansas Department of Education works with teachers to create a set of standards. The Arkansas English Language Arts Standards are like a list of expectations for students at different grade levels. Teachers use the standards to create curriculum for students. The curriculum includes daily lessons, units, texts, and other instructional strategies that are chosen by the school district, curriculum specialist, or classroom teacher. 

Knowing what your child is expected to know and do at each grade level can help you support your child at home as well as help identify whether or not your child is a struggling reader. 

The Arkansas English Language Arts Standards are listed by grade level on the Curriculum and Instruction portion of the Arkansas Department of Education webpage. 

The standards are broken down into different strands: reading, writing, speaking and listening, and language. As you scroll through the Arkansas English Language Arts Standards document, you will see the Arkansas Anchor Standards for Reading on page 7. The Anchor Standards show a broad list of expectations for students of all levels. For your student’s exact grade level expectations, scroll  to the appropriate grade level reading standards on the page after the Anchor Standards. 

Assessments

Your child will take a variety of assessments in school. These assessments are used by the school to allow parents and teachers to know whether or not a child meets the standards and grade-level expectations. The assessments are also used to determine if students need reading intervention or if they have a learning disability, such as dyslexia.  

All K-2 students will be screened for dyslexia using Dynamic Indicators of Basic Early Literacy Skills (DIBELS) assessment. Any student in grade 3 or higher with difficulty noted by a classroom teacher should also be screened. 

Common Reading Assessments

DIBELS The Dynamic Indicators of Basic Early Literacy Skills consists of short one-minute fluency passages used to assess the acquisition of early literacy skills such as phonemic awareness, alphabetic principle, accuracy and fluency, reading comprehension, and vocabulary for students K-6.  This tool is a predictive measure of student success in reading and is often used by districts as a screener for dyslexia.  

DRA  The Developmental Reading Assessment is a criterion-referenced assessment that allows teachers observe, record, and evaluate student reading performance and determine instructional and independent reading levels.  It allows for the teacher to assess oral reading fluency and reading comprehension. 

DSA The Developmental Spelling Assessment is to determine a child’s stage of development.  The words in the assessment are specifically chosen to display the child’s knowledge and understanding of certain spelling features (short vowels, long vowels, blends, etc.) This screening device consists of 20 words that become progressively more difficult. The assessment is administered in a similar fashion as a spelling test, except the child has not studied these specific words before taking the assessment. The Screening Inventory has been found to accurately identify a child’s stage of development over 90% of the time (Ganske, 1999).

Qualls and Kindergarten Readiness Indicators The Qualls Early Learning Inventory (QELI) is an assessment tool for use in the primary grades (Pre-K, K-, and 1st) to identify student development in six behavioral characteristics related to school learning.  Students are assessed in general knowledge, oral communication, written language, math concepts, work habits, and attentive behavior.  The purpose of the assessment is to help identify those students who might be at risk due to delayed development, report the initial status and progress to families, and to enhance communication between Pre-K programs, kindergarten teachers and staff.  The assessment provides a snapshot of the child giving the teacher and parent a quick observational overview.  The assessment is not language dependent and can be used to assess children who are emerging speakers of English.

STAR The Standardized Test for the Assessment of Reading is a computer-adaptive assessment given to students to provide immediate data to teachers to support them in progress monitoring and in making informed instructional decisions to maximize student growth.  It is often given in the fall and then again in the spring.  Many teachers use this data to create reading goals for students. These assessments meet all criteria set by the National Center on Student Progress Monitoring.

State Required Assessment

ACT Aspire The ACT Aspire™ Assessment System includes a battery of achievement tests given to students in Grades 3-10 which measure students’ progress toward college and career readiness.  Arkansas public school students are required to take an end-of-year summative assessment. Two types of periodic assessments are also available through the state but are optional.

How do I know if my child is a struggling reader?
What is my child learning at school?
How can I help my child at home?

 

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