Over the next few months, many of you will be assessing your students on their letter sounds and formations.To make these assessments most effective, be sure to actually record student errors rather than simply mark as right or wrong. You can learn so much by analyzing student errors – it will pinpoint reversal issues as well as indicate whether a child is using the letter names to identify sounds. If a child doesn’t know the sound for ‘b’ you remediate by re-teaching that sound. If a child is confusing ‘b’ and ‘d’, remediation is different. If that ‘b’ on your record-keeping sheet is simply marked wrong, you won’t know which problem it might be. By recording the error, you will be directed to the correct remediation strategy.
Very early in my career, I remember children identifying the sound for ‘f’, ‘l’, ‘m’, ‘n’, ‘s’, and ‘x’ as the sound /e/. Had I not recorded the ‘e’ next to these letters, it would not have triggered with me that these students were using the first part of the letter name to help them identify the sound.
I always remember a teacher bringing me a student’s math test of basic computations. Every subtraction question was marked wrong and the teacher wanted me to teach her how to subtract. When I analyzed the errors, I saw that the student knew exactly how to subtract, with borrowing – all her errors were fact errors. Without seeing these errors, I would have started working with her on ‘how to subtract’ rather than ‘subtraction facts’.
We can learn so much from errors – always record the student’s response, analyze what they are doing wrong and use that information to design a remediation program.
If you need a record-keeping assessment for letter sounds and formations, there are 3 pages that you can download from the website.