Evaluation of the Independent Reading Level Assessment Framework For the Boyertown Area School District

enable all students to succeed in a changing world

The Boyertown Area School District’s vision statement is to “enable all students to succeed in a changing world”. To this end, the district strives to create literate students who think critically about information. The reading program is integral to this objective as its goals are to improve students’ reading achievement and provide teachers direction and support so they know how to meet students’ needs.

Recently, the Independent Reading Level Assessment (IRLA) framework, created by the American Reading Company, was purchased for kindergarten teachers and first grade teachers interested in piloting the framework. IRLA is an Independent Reading Level Assessment Framework created by the American Reading Company.

The data gained from IRLA provides teachers with formative assessment information that shows them what standards students have mastered and tells students and teachers what students need to master to move in reading skill.

The most recent IRLA data collected for the current school year reflects mid-year scores. Kindergarten students proficient in reading score a 2Y on IRLA, half way through the kindergarten year.

Scores for kindergarten students, mid-year, show that 98.8% of students are at the 2Y level or higher. This is the percentage of students who have met mid-year reading expectations for the 2016-2017 school year.

Next, last year's kindergarten student reading scores were compared to this year's reading scores. Last year, kindergarten students were assessed using the Fountas and Pinnell (F&P) framework, not IRLA. The F&P to IRLA comparison chart was used to compare the two types of scores to each other.

31.8% of 2015-2016 kindergarten students read above mid-year district reading expectations. 81% of 2016-2017 kindergarten students read above mid-year district reading expectations.

Recommendations

The following recommendations presented are designed to assist in meeting the needs of improved IRLA implementation to improve student reading achievement. They are based on the quantitative and qualitative data gathered thus far regarding the evaluation of IRLA implementation. These recommendations seek to address teacher concerns regarding instruction, time management, curriculum and professional development. Additionally, they focus on increasing the reading achievement of students through the increased use of the IRLA program.

Targeted Professional Learning

One suggestion is for building instructional coaches to send teachers implementing IRLA an electronic instructional coach survey offering a level of support teachers elect of their own accord. Requiring teachers who do not want to participate in instructional coaching results in less success. However, a survey that offers teachers the chance to work with an instructional coach at a level they are comfortable with – or not at all, will produce richer instructional coach-to-teacher experiences that can result in greater student reading achievement.

Another recommendation is to develop an IRLA implementation roadmap based on the Action 100 Instructional Framework and IRLA Handbook that is coupled with specific professional learning during each stage of the road map. This may help alleviate teacher concerns regarding the management of IRLA materials and guidelines and instructional time.

Purchase More Student Books

Another recommendation includes the purchasing of more IRLA books for student reading. As students learn more Power Words, they are able to successfully read more IRLA books. This promotes students who enjoy reading and want to read more. The more a student reads, the more academic achievement the student experiences.

Record Benchmark Data in the Online Assessment Score Database

Final recommendations relate to the realignment of the BASD reading benchmarks and report cards to IRLA expectations and entering end-of-quarter IRLA levels in Performance Tracker. This will help in communicating a consistent message to all stakeholders as to the permanency and importance of IRLA instruction to increase student reading achievement. It will also assist in future program evaluation endeavors to analyze student assessment data.

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Created with images by jaycross - "IMG_3533.JPG" • US Department of Education - "IMG81"

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