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Read Naturally Encore: Monitoring student performance

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Once a student begins working in Read Naturally Encore, you need to monitor the student's performance. To monitor performance, you must first confirm that a student is placed correctly and then keep the student challenged. Monitoring performance helps you do the following:

  • Respond in a timely way if a student is not placed correctly.
  • Keep a student continually challenged.
  • Modify your program when a student is not progressing.
  • Decide when a student should exit from Encore.

CONFIRMING INITIAL PLACEMENT

Checking initial placement is the process of evaluating the student's level of reading material and the student's individual goal to make sure the initial placement was appropriate. Check the student's initial placement after he or she completes two or three stories.

Refer to the student's story pages and graphs to find the necessary data to verify that the student meets the initial placement criteria. The criteria are as follows:

  • The cold-timing scores are approximately 30 less than the goal for a student below fifth grade or 40 less than the goal for a student in fifth grade and above.
  • The student is able to reach his or her goal after practicing three to ten times.
  • The student's hot-timing scores are at or just above his or her goal with three or fewer errors.
  • The student answers most of the comprehension questions correctly on the first attempt or with some support.

If the student's data meets most of the initial placement criteria, the placement was correct. The student should remain in the same level of material with the same goal for at least several more stories. As the student continues in Encore, you will use story data recorded on the graphs to make decisions about adjusting the level and goal.

If the student does not meet one or more of the initial placement criteria, consider raising or lowering the student's goal in order to meet the criteria. If you decide to raise or lower the student's goal, explain to the student that you made an error when placing him or her.

Note: If the student meets the initial placement criteria but has some difficulty with the comprehension questions, offer additional comprehension support, but do not change the level or goal.

KEEPING STUDENTS CHALLENGED

After confirming placement, turn your attention to accelerating learning by keeping the student challenged as he or she improves. Regularly monitor performance to determine if a change is needed in a student's level or goal. Every time you conduct a hot timing, make note of how a student is doing. You can make a change at any time, but do not make changes on every story, and change only one element at a time—level or goal.

Determining When to Make a Change

There are several situations that indicate a change may be needed in a student's level or goal, including the following:

  • You will need to make a change when the student has completed all of the stories in a level, which is typically 24 stories.
  • You should carefully review performance and consider a change after a student has completed 12 stories in a level, or any time you see a trend in one or more of the following:
    • The student's cold- and/or hot-timing scores have improved significantly.
    • The student's number of practices to goal has decreased significantly.
    • The student has consistently exceeded his or her goal.
    • The student seems bored or unmotivated, which may indicate that he or she is no longer challenged.
Determining Whether to Raise the Level or the Goal

Once you determine that a change in a student's level or goal may be needed, you must decide which one should be changed. When changing a student's level or goal, remember to change only one element at a time.

  • If the student has completed all 24 stories in a level, raise the student's level and record the change in the For Teacher Use Only box on the bottom of the completed graph page.
  • If the student has completed 12 stories in a level and/or the student's data indicates a change may be needed, consider the student's comprehension and accuracy, and use your teacher judgment. If you make a change, record the change in the For Teacher Use Only box on the bottom of the graph page. A few examples are as follows:
    • If the student's cold-timing scores have steadily improved and the student's practices have decreased, first consider raising the goal. However, if the student's comprehension is also excellent, error rates are also low, and the student's Encore level is several years lower than the student's grade level, consider raising the level.
    • If the student has consistently exceeded his or her goal, but generally has scored less than 80 percent correct on the comprehension questions on the first try, do not change the level. The student is having difficulty with comprehension in the current level of material. However, you may still consider raising the goal and then work with the student on comprehension.
    • If the student's cold- and/or hot-timing scores have improved significantly, but the student's error rates were high during cold or hot timings due to a lack of phonics skills, do not change the level or goal.
    • If the student has consistently reached his or her goal in fewer than three practices, but the student has had high error rates due to carelessness or a desire for speed, keep the level and goal the same, and talk with the student about the importance of accuracy. If the problem persists, consider lowering the goal.

Note: Keep the student's long-term benchmark fluency goal in mind as you determine whether to change the level or the goal. The student's long-term benchmark fluency 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. (See the Hasbrouck & Tindal Oral Reading Fluency Norms table for more information about national norms.) In order to reach the long-term benchmark fluency goal, the student's level and goal both need to be increased over time.

Guidelines for Changing the Level or Goal

Once you've decided which element to raise—level or goal—follow the guidelines below to help ensure the student's continued success.

  • Typically, raise the level by half a year (for example, from Sequenced level 2.0 to Sequenced level 2.5). In rare cases, you may raise the level by a whole year if a student is reading in level 3.0 or above and has made significant fluency progress, comprehends well, and can handle the extra challenge.
  • Raise the goal by 10 words at a time.
  • Discuss the change with the student, asking for his or her input.

Generally, once a student is working successfully in the program, you should not lower the level or the goal. These changes are often perceived by the student as signs of failure and can affect motivation. However, you might occasionally need to lower the level or the goal. For example, if an ELL student is unable to answer the comprehension questions, consider lowering the level.

Increasing Independence

When a student has made good progress in Encore and passes stories easily, consider helping the student become less dependent on the audio support. Increase independence in the following ways:

  • Require the student to read along with the audio recording only once or twice.
  • Allow the student to skip the Read Along step.
  • Have the student read the key words without audio support.

MODIFYING YOUR PROGRAM

If a student is not making the expected gains, first check to make sure the student is correctly and efficiently following the program steps. (See the Read Naturally Encore Fidelity Checklists.) Reteach the steps to the student, and coach the student to follow the guidelines.

If a student is following the steps correctly and is not making the progress you expect, first consider the number of minutes the student is actually reading. Then consider ways the program can be modified to meet a student's specific needs.

Adjust the Time
  • Lengthen the Encore session each day.
  • Increase the number of days per week the student works in Encore.
Adjust the Program

Adjust the program by adapting the steps as described below.

Step Adjustments
Prediction
  • Have the student predict the story orally so the student spends more class time reading.
Read Along
  • Increase the number of read alongs for a student who needs more support to learn the words.
  • Reduce the number of read alongs for a student who is learning the words easily and may become bored by doing unnecessary read alongs.
Practice
  • Require the student to do a minimum number of practices to be sure the student is practicing enough.
  • Have the student read the story to you once without the timer before he or she begins practicing to be sure the student is able to read the story fairly accurately before practicing.
Answer the Questions
  • Have the student read the questions before beginning the Practice step to encourage the student to read for meaning.
  • Have the student answer short-answer questions orally so the student spends more class time reading.
Retell the Story
  • Have the student retell the story orally so the student spends more class time reading.
  • Eliminate the Retell the Story step so the student spends more class time reading.
Word List
  • Require the student to read along with the word list audio to be sure the student can read the words accurately before practicing.
  • Require the student to read the word list with you once without the timer before he or she begins practicing to be sure the student is able to read the words accurately before practicing.
Supplement the Program

Add supplementary instruction in phonemic awareness, phonics, or vocabulary for students who are lacking skills in these critical areas.

Classroom Management/Motivation

In necessary, make the following changes in your classroom:

  • To decrease distractions, rearrange seating assignments if necessary.
  • To increase motivation, record and acknowledge the number of stories completed per week.
  • To increase motivation, acknowledge a student in some way when all comprehension questions for a story are answered correctly on the first attempt.

EXITING THE PROGRAM

A student is ready to exit Encore when he or she has met the long-term benchmark fluency goal of reading unpracticed, grade-level material accurately, expressively, with understanding, and at a rate that is at least at the 50th percentile of national norms.

When the student is working in grade-level material in Encore, the student's goal does not reflect the rate at which he or she reads unpracticed, grade-level material. In Encore, the student has extra support. The student reads along with audio recordings of the stories and practices each story multiple times in order to reach his or her goal. So, in order to read at grade level without extra support, a student will need to work successfully in Encore material that is above his or her grade level.

Use a benchmark assessment tool in the fall, winter, and spring to determine whether or not a student has met his or her long-term benchmark fluency goal.

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