Teacher with StuidentsPop quiz! What do you do when you’re staring down a pile of winter assessment data?
a) run away
b) procrastinate on social media
c) allow Read Naturally to help you
d) all of the above

We’ll count both c and d as correct. Procrastinate a little if you must, but we hope the tips and resources in this blog post will make you eager to jump right in.

One of our favorite things to do with winter assessment data is to determine students’ average weekly improvement (AWI) between fall and winter. This week-by-week progress can be compared to normed AWI statistics to reveal whether your students are on track to reach their fluency goals. 

To determine your students’ AWI, simply subtract the fall assessment score from the winter assessment score, and divide that number by the number of weeks between assessments. Next, refer to the AWI table below. The last column of this table shows the AWI for students based on the Hasbrouck & Tindal oral reading fluency norms*. Find the number closest to the student’s first WCPM score for the year in the table; then compare the student’s AWI to the AWI in that row. Keep in mind that if the student is at a lower performance level, you want the student to exceed the AWI gains listed in the table in order to move to a higher performance level.

Average Weekly Improvement (AWI) Table

Grade

Percentile

Fall WCPM

Winter WCPM

Spring WCPM

Avg. Weekly Improvement

1

80

60

40

10

1

-

-

-

-

-

55

29

18

6

0

90

64

43

15

1

2.2

2.2

1.6

0.6

0.1

2

80

60

40

10

1

86

62

41

11

0

107

84

61

18

1

124

100

79

31

3

1.2

1.2

1.2

0.6

0.1

3

80

60

40

10

1

107

82

61

21

2

127

102

82

36

4

143

118

96

48

9

1.1

1.1

1.1

0.8

0.2

4

80

60

40

10

1

126

103

84

45

10

146

122

103

61

16

160

134

113

72

19

1.1

1.0

0.9

0.8

0.3

5

80

60

40

10

1

147

121

101

61

15

163

137

116

74

22

175

150

127

83

27

0.9

0.9

0.8

0.7

0.4

6

80

60

40

10

1

160

137

115

68

22

175

150

130

82

26

185

161

140

93

36

0.8

0.8

0.8

0.8

0.4

7

80

60

40

10

1

162

138

118

79

34

173

147

127

88

35

184

160

140

98

48

0.7

0.7

0.7

0.6

0.4

8

80

60

40

10

1

168

145

124

77

32

180

155

135

84

36

183

161

142

97

51

0.5

0.5

0.6

0.6

0.6

This table is based on data collected in a study by Jan Hasbrouck and Gerald Tindal (2006. Oral reading fluency norms: A valuable assessment tool for reading teachers. The Reading Teacher. 59 (7), 636-644.)
*Note that the AWI values displayed in this table assume the recommended 16 weeks between testing sessions.

In addition to calculating AWI, it is useful to use fall and winter assessment data to set spring targets. Some school districts have predetermined spring targets for students, but many teachers set these targets themselves. To set a spring target for an individual student, follow these steps:

  1. Determine how many words correct per minute (WCPM) you expect your student to gain each week. Use the AWI table as a guide, but keep in mind that the AWI column shows how your student must perform to stay at the same percentile ranking. If your student is at a low WCPM, you want the student to exceed the gains in the AWI column in order to move to a higher percentile ranking.
  2. Multiply this number by the number of weeks between the fall and spring or winter and spring assessments.
  3. Add the number you calculated in step 2 to the student’s score on the fall or winter assessment. This number is the student’s target for the spring assessment. 
  4. To make sure the student is working toward grade-level proficiency, compare the number you calculated in step 3 to the long-term benchmark goal for the student according to the Hasbrouck-Tindal Oral Reading Fluency Norms. The student’s long-term benchmark goal is to read unpracticed, grade-level material accurately, expressively, with understanding, and at a rate that is at least at the 50th percentile of national norms.

Consider the following example. Let’s say there are 34 weeks between the fall assessment and the planned spring assessment. Your student’s fall assessment score is 63 WCPM, and you expect him to gain 1.2 WCPM per week. To set his spring target, multiply 1.2 by 34, and round to the nearest whole number to get 41. This number indicates that you can expect a growth of 41 WCPM between the fall and spring assessments. To set the spring target, add 41 to the fall assessment score of 63. This student’s spring target is 104 WCPM. If the student is in first, second, or third grade, this is an acceptable spring target as shown by the spring WCPM scores on the Hasbrouck-Tindal Table. It may also be an acceptable spring target for students in higher grades, because weekly improvement gains are typically less than 1.2 words per week in grades three through eight. Some students need more than one year of fluency training before reaching grade-level proficiency, even if they are making good AWI gains.

We hope this year’s winter assessment data illuminates a bright path forward if your students keep up their hard work. If you’re not seeing the progress you expected, we are here to help you troubleshoot. And if your students are making impressive gains, we’d love to hear about it. Check out last week’s blog post for ideas on how to celebrate your students’ success.