Administering assessments of any kind can be overwhelming. Today I’m sharing 7 tips to help you make the most out of your FREE Phonics Snapshot Assessment. These tips will make administering and implementing the results of the phonics assessment a piece of cake!
So you want (or need) to assess your students in phonics…now what?
Download My Free Phonics Snapshot
First things first, make sure that you download your FREE Phonics Snapshot Assessment. You can find it at the bottom of this blog post: How to Know Exactly What Phonics Skills to Teach Next!
#1 – Plan to Give the Assessment
This might seem #basic, but seriously, you won’t get anywhere without planning to give the assessment.
If you’re not the type that likes to plan the exact date and time, at least have the assessment ready-to-go for the next opportunity you have to give it.
The Gym Analogy
…I mean, don’t we all wish it was that easy?! 🤣
You can’t expect to get fit just because you have a gym membership.
You also can’t expect to guide your reading instruction without administering (and scoring) the assessment.
Just like having a gym membership will not get you results, downloading an assessment won’t give you the data you need to plan effective instruction.
Seriously, printing out the copies that you need and planning a time to give the assessment is half of the battle. Print it out, make your copies, and set aside 15 minutes to assess your class.
So, it’s in your lesson plans now, right? 😉 Ok good, let’s move on.
#2 – Remember the Assessment Type
Let’s take a little trip back to our credential programs, shall we?
There are four main types of assessments:
- Diagnostic – Find out where your students are at/what they’ve mastered
- Formative – Gauges students during a lesson; very informal, like observing
- Benchmark – Typically occurs in the middle of year to see where they will be at the end; Gives you the chance to view progress and see if your students are all on track
- Summative – Typically occurs at the end of the year
The Phonics Snapshot Assessment is a diagnostic assessment. We are going to see exactly what your students have and have not mastered.
With that in mind, know that you don’t need to stress about setting up the “perfect” environment for this assessment.
You don’t need to hurry and teach that one skill or lesson before you assess.
All you need to do is administer the assessment!
Easy-peasy! Get it done! ✅
#3 – Tell Your Students Not to Stress
Because you want to know where you students truly stand in their understanding of phonics, you don’t want the stress of an assessment to impact their responses.
I like to tell my students that it’s a test for me as their teacher. I get to see how much they have learned from me.
Be sure to stress (no pun intended) that it is NOT a test for them. They just need to relax and do their best!
#4 – Score it ASAP
If you walk into the gym and walk right back out, you can say that you went to the gym.
But…nothing comes from it. 🙈
You have to score the assessments in order to know what skills your students have (and have not yet) mastered.
Score the assessment ASAP! If possible, score it the same day that you give it!
You can score it wherever you work best. I personally enjoy grabbing my favorite smelly markers, a cup of decaf coffee, and my lapdesk. I put my favorite show on Netflix (Why does FRIENDS have to be gone…why!!!😭), and “grade” away.
#5 – Don’t Overthink the Results
Every student’s results won’t ALWAYS be cookie cutter. Maybe they’re *just under* “mastery” for both digraphs and blends, and you wonder…Well now where do I start?
Don’t overthink it!
If you reteach digraphs and they don’t need much targeted instruction on digraphs, guess what?
Your formative assessments will show you that! And then you will move onto the next skill. #theend
Don’t get analysis paralysis! Look at their results and pick their target skill. Then move on!
#6 – Synthesize Your Results by Grouping Your Students
There is no right or wrong way to group your students. You need to do what you believe is best.
Regardless of how you choose to group them, you need to know each student’s target skill.
These aren’t called a Phonics SNAPSHOT assessment for no reason.
snap·shot | ˈsnapˌSHät | noun 1 a brief look or summary
By using the Class Results sheet, you’ll be able to see ALL of your collected data in ONE place.
This way you can see where ALL of your students are at a glance, making it easier to group them.
If you don’t group them by skill, do it on this paper! That way if you do create mixed-ability groups, you’ll know that they are well-balanced.
#7 – Plan Your Next Lesson
Now that you know exactly what skills your students need to learn, plan your next lesson!
If you’re working with small groups, this might mean it’s time to plan a few lessons. That’s okay. You now have peace and confidence knowing that you are giving your students exactly what they need.
Planning your next lesson based on the assessment results is the equivalent to actually working out. 🙌🏼💪🏻
When you take that data and plan your instruction based on what skills your students need to master…you’re going to start to see results. 🥳
YAY! Because getting those students to read is what it’s ALL about!
Do you have any phonics assessment tips to share?
Be sure to share in the comments below so we call learn from you, too! 👇🏽
More About the Phonics Snapshot Assessment
If you’re looking for a deep dive into the free Phonics Snapshot Assessment step-by-step style directions, be sure to check out this blog post.
The Focused Phonics Assessment Binder
If you’re looking for phonics assessments for every skill that you can use all year long, be sure to check out the Focused Phonics Assessment Binder!
Thank you for so many helpful tips and tools! I am building a resource library for the struggling readers in my elementary school. Your tips are helpful and helping to bring success to my students!
I’m so glad it is helpful for you, Mary! Thanks for leaving a kind comment!