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Home » Fountas & Pinnell » Implemenation Questions

Discussions about any of Fountas & Pinnell's works, including LLI, BAS, the Continuum, When Readers Struggle, Literacy Beginnings, leveled books, training events, professional development for educators, and more
1/13/2012 11:05:30 AM

User 491824
User 491824
Posts: 2
Our district adopted the BAS and teachers are currently being trained in grades K-5. Several common questions keep coming up and it would be helpful to get some feedback as we make decisions regarding implementation....1. How many times a year should we assess and when? Some feel that if we are using this data to guide instruction, we should assess in (for example) Sept and Feb and that assessing in June doesn't make sense. 2. Should we assess at all three levels? What is the advantage to finding the Hard Level? 3. Is there a recommendation regarding when to use fiction or nonfiction-should we alternate? 4. Should we "cap out" when a student has exceeded so many levels beyond the grade level benchmark? Thanks!
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1/13/2012 12:09:29 PM

The Fountas & Pinnell Team
The Fountas & Pinnell Team
Posts: 292
1. How many times a year should we assess and when?
Fountas & Pinnell "suggest that you administer the assessment at the beginning of the year to know where to start your teaching with each child. You may also want the conduct the assessment in the middle of the year to take stock of progress, though you may already have the information from your ongoing use of reading records in instruction. Finally, at the end of the year you may want to conduct one more assessment to obtain a final record of the child's growth across the year. You may decide to administer the last assessment for the year a couple of months before the end of the year. This could provide information for instruction and could be less redundant with the first assessment in the following school year." p. 143, Assessment Guide (If you did the latter, you wouldn't assess in the middle of the year, but would use your ongoing reading records from instruction to take stock of progress.)

2. Should we assess at all three levels? What is the advantage to finding the Hard Level?
Yes, you want to find the hard level. A child may read a couple of books at the instructional level, so you want to see how high a level the child can read at an instructional level. So you should continue assessing until you reach a hard level. Remember, "you can stop the reading early. You might want to say something like, 'This is a very tricky story. You can stop there.' As a teacher, you have gathered the data you need and you can discontinue the testing. There is no need to have the child continue to read if the accuracy rate has gone well below 90% for Levels A-K or 95% for Levels L-N." p. 145, Assessment Guide

3. Is there a recommendation regarding when to use fiction or nonfiction - should we alternate?
"The fiction and nonfiction book at each level are equivalent measures. You can use either text to determine a child's ability to read at that level. We recommend alternating fiction and nonfiction books as you move up the levels." p. 144, Assessment Guide

4. Should we "cap out" when a student has exceeded so many levels beyond benchmark?
Once you have documentation that he/she is reading well above grade level, you can stop assessing. (Your school or district needs to establish the cutoff level for each grade) For instruction, you want to go broader and deeper in thinking about and discussing texts. Have the student read extensively across the genres, participate in literature discussion groups as well as write across the genres. There are excellent chapters to support teachers in their work with students on this topic in Teaching for Comprehending and Fluency: Thinking, Talking, and Writing about Reading, K-8.

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The Fountas & Pinnell Team

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