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Read Naturally Encore: Monitoring student performance

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Monitoring student performance is the process of analyzing student data in order to make necessary changes to the student’s level or goal and adjustments to the student’s program. In Encore II, you monitor student performance by evaluating the data on each student’s graph and story pages. Monitoring student performance is integral to checking initial placement, validating improvement, keeping the student challenged, and troubleshooting—the four areas discussed in this section.

CHECKING INITIAL PLACEMENT

Checking initial placement is the process of analyzing the student’s performance in Encore II in order to make the necessary changes to level and goal to ensure the student’s level and goal are appropriate. This process involves a step-by-step analysis of the relationships of the level and goal to the cold-timing, hot-timing, and comprehension scores, and the number of practices.

It is best to complete this process after the student has finished two or three stories. Because the cold-timing scores are used to check placement, you must be present for the student’s first few cold timings. The student’s story pages and resulting graph page contain all the data necessary to check initial placement and to decide whether to continue, raise, or lower the student’s level and/or goal.

pointer Learn more about checking initial placement

VALIDATING PROGRESS

Evaluating student progress is one of the most important things you do as an Encore II educator. Personal knowledge of your students, as well as the objective data you collect via the graphs, allows you to make informed instructional decisions and effectively communicate with parents or guardians. In Encore II, the student’s graphs offer a quick way to analyze student performance and are an easy way to communicate student performance to parents.

Analyze the Graphs

First, consider the number of levels the student has completed. Steadily advancing through levels is an indication of a student’s reading progress.

Then analyze the goal, and the cold-timing, quiz, and word list scores for each level, as shown on the graphs. Compare the student’s first three scores in each of these categories to the last three scores, which compares average performance, rather than performance based on a single story.

  • An increase in the cold-timing score is an indication of progress in fluency, especially if the cold timing is done by the teacher.
  • An increase in the goal is an indication of progress in fluency.
  • An increase in the comprehension scores is an indication of an improvement in comprehension. Comprehension scores of 80% or higher indicate adequate comprehension for the level.
  • A decrease in the number of practices is an indication of progress in fluency.
  • A decrease in the number of errors is an indication of progress in fluency.
  • An increase in the retelling score is an indication of improved recall and/or improved writing ability.
  • In Phonics, a decrease in the number of seconds to complete a word list is an indication of improvement in decoding.

In any of the above categories, an increase from the first three scores to the last three scores within a level is an indication of improvement. An increase across levels is an even stronger indication of improvement.

In addition to the data from the graphs, scores from oral reading fluency assessments offer critical information about progress in fluency. Compare the student’s initial WCPM with his or her current WCPM score. An increase in the WCPM score is an indicator of improvement in fluency.

KEEPING THE STUDENT CHALLENGED: LEVEL AND GOAL

After checking initial placement and making any needed changes to level and goal, focus on keeping the student challenged and supported in order to accelerate his or her achievement. The student’s story pages and resulting graph page contain all the data necessary to regularly evaluate the student’s level and goal to decide whether to continue, raise, or lower the level or goal.

Data Analysis

Use the data on the student’s story and graph pages to calculate the averages of the student’s scores for the last three stories completed. Compare these averages to the level and goal criteria below. The closer the student’s data are to meeting the following level and goal criteria, the more confident you can be that the student is working in an appropriate level and with an appropriate goal.

Level Criteria 

  • The student’s average percent correct on the comprehension questions is at least 80% (or 60-79% with comprehension support from the teacher).
  • The student’s average number of practices is between 3 and 10

Goal Criteria

  • The student’s goal exceeds the average cold-timing score by approximately:
    • 30 in grades 4 and below.
    • 40 in grades 5 and above. 
  • The student’s goal is equal to or slightly less than the average hot-timing score.
  • The student’s average number of practices is 3 to 10.
Level Decisions

After comparing the student’s data to the level criteria, you have three choices: continue, raise, or lower the level.

Continue the Level

Generally, the student continues in the same level:

  • If the student’s data fit the level criteria.
  • Until he or she finishes all 24 stories in the level.

Raise the goal to increase the challenge rather than change the level if the student shows progress while working within a level.

Raise the Level

After the student has completed 24 stories in a level, generally the student will move to the next level. Occasionally, the student’s data may indicate that you could raise the level before the student completes all 24 stories. In a few cases, a student may even skip the second 12 stories in a level, especially if the student’s Encore II level is several years lower than the student’s actual grade level.

Consider raising the level before the student has completed the level if all of the following indicators are true:

  • Cold-timing scores have significantly improved.
  • Comprehension scores are above 90%.
  • Error rates on hot timings are low.
  • The number of practices is fewer than 3. (If practices are high because the student is waiting for a teacher to pass, this indicator is not required.)

Lower the Level

Only lower a student’s level in rare circumstances. The student may feel a sense of failure that can negatively impact motivation if you lower a level. However, the following situations may necessitate lowering a student’s level:

  • Comprehension scores remain below 60% even after explicit comprehension instruction.
  • The troubleshooting adjustments you made did not result in a lower number of practices or did not alleviate student frustration. For information on making adjustments, see Differentiation (Troubleshooting and Adjustments) in this manual.
Goal Decisions

After comparing the student’s data to the goal criteria, you have 3 choices: continue, raise, or lower the goal.

Continue the Goal

If the student’s data fit the goal criteria, continue the goal.

Raise the Goal

Consider raising the student’s goal if the data show most of the following are true:

  • Cold-timing scores improve significantly.
  • Hot-timing scores exceed the goal by more than 10.
  • Comprehension scores are 80% or higher.
  • Error rates decrease or remain low.
  • The number of practices decreases significantly.
  • The student loses motivation because he or she is not challenged.

Lower the Goal

Only lower a student’s goal in rare circumstances. The student may feel a sense of failure that can negatively impact motivation if you lower a goal. However, lower the student’s goal if one or more the following are true:

  • The student cannot meet the goal even after 10 practices.
  • The troubleshooting adjustments you made did not result in an increase of the hot-timing scores or subsequent cold-timing scores. For information on making adjustments, see Troubleshooting and Adjustments in this topic.
  • Most comprehension scores remain below 60% even after explicit comprehension instruction, and you are not lowering the level.
Guidelines for Changing the Level or Goal

Once you’ve decided to raise a level or goal, follow the guidelines below to ensure the student’s continued success.

  • Change only one element at a time, either level or goal. When only one element is changed:
    • The student has a better chance of experiencing success than if the difficulty of both elements is increased at the same time.
    • You can measure the effect of the change.
  • Raise (or in rare cases lower) the level by half a year (for example, from Level 2.0 to Level 2.5).
  • Wait to make a change until comprehension scores are 80% or higher. However, you have to raise:
    • The level, if the student has completed all the stories in a level.
    • The goal, if the student’s cold-timing score exceeds the goal.
  • Raise (or in rare cases lower) the goal by 10 words at a time.
  • Discuss any change with the student, asking for his or her input.
  • Record change on the student’s graph page.

TROUBLESHOOTING AND ADJUSTMENTS

Differentiating instruction often requires you to identify a barrier to the student’s progress in reading achievement, to create a solution, and to implement an adjustment that enables the student to overcome the barrier and become a more successful reader.

Often, minor adjustments to Encore II can change the course of progress for a student. This section troubleshoots some common difficulties a student might experience and recommends adjustments that have worked for other students.

Though an area of concern may have more than one possible solution, it is best practice to make one adjustment at a time and see if it is effective before making an additional change. Some areas of concern are:

pointer Not Making Expected Progress
pointer  Insufficient Rate Gain
pointer  High Number of Errors
pointer Low Comprehension Scores
pointer Too Few Stories Completed
pointer Lack of Motivation
pointer Inaccurate Self-Timing
pointer Expression Not Improving
pointer Too Many Practices
pointer Vocabulary Support Needed
pointer Unable to Pass the Word List
pointer Ready for More Independence

EXITING THE PROGRAM

The student is ready to exit Encore II when he or she has met the long-term fluency benchmark goal of reading unpracticed, grade-level material accurately, expressively, with understanding, and at a rate that is at or above the 50th percentile of national norms for the student’s grade level. It is best practice to use a benchmark assessment to determine whether or not the student has met his or her long-term benchmark fluency goal.

You should not use the student’s goal or hot-timing scores to determine if a student can exit the program. Be aware that when a student is working in grade-level material in Encore II, the student’s goal or hot-timing score does not reflect the rate at which he or she reads unpracticed, grade-level material. In Encore II, the student has extra support: the student reads along with audio of the stories and practices each story multiple times in order to reach the assigned goal.

However, the scores from teacher-conducted cold timings can be an indication of student progress and may be used to support your decision to exit a student, especially if the student is working successfully in Encore II material that is above grade level.

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