Chapter 02

For each term below, first note how you would define the term. Then, click on the arrow to reveal the book’s definition.

Anecdotal Notes

Written observations taken by the teacher —usually on a clipboard—of literacy-related behaviors in an authentic literacy context.


The process of gathering information about students’ abilities using a variety of means and tools, both formal and informal.

Cloze Test

An assessment device in which certain words are deleted from a passage by the teacher, with blanks left in their places for students to fill in by using the context of the sentence or paragraph.

Criterion-Referenced Tests

A test for which scores are interpreted by comparing the test taker’s score to a specified performance level rather than to the scores of other students.

Curriculum-Based Assessment

The process of matching the curriculum to the content standards assessed in a testing program to ensure that teachers will cover the material assessed.

Electronic Portfolios

A compilation of work stored digitally; gives students the option of storing a great deal of information electronically, including items such as work samples, photos, art, and even oral reading samples; sound, music, and video clips can also be included to enhance the portfolio. Electronic portfolios also give students the ability to connect sections of a portfolio through hyperlinks, allowing access to a variety of artifacts that might show how specific goals have been met.


Making a judgment about assessment data or assigning a score or grade to assessment data.

Formative Assessment

Classroom-based measures intended to provide feedback to learners on areas needing improvement.

Frustration Level

A level of reading difficulty at which a reader is unable to cope; when reading is on the frustration level, the reader recognizes approximately 90 percent or fewer of the words encountered and comprehends 50 percent or fewer.

Independent Level

A level of reading difficulty low enough that the reader can progress without noticeable obstructions; the reader can recognize approximately 98 percent of the words and comprehend at least 90 percent of what is read.

Informal Reading Inventory (IRI)

An informal assessment instrument designed to help the teacher determine a student’s independent, instructional, frustration, and reading capacity levels.

Instructional Level

A level of difficulty low enough that the reader can be instructed by the teacher during the process; in order for the material to be at this level, the reader should be able to read approximately 95 percent of the words in a passage and comprehend at least 75 percent.

Interest and Attitude Inventories

An informal assessment device that allows teachers to discover how their students feel about reading and about themselves as readers.


An unexpected reading response (deviation from text).

Norm-Referenced Tests

A test designed to yield results interpretable in terms of the average results of a sample population.

Percentile Scores

Raw scores that are converted to percentiles so that comparisons can be made. Percentiles range from 1 to 99, with 1 being the lowest.

Performance Descriptors

The criteria that help communicate to teachers and students the standards that will be used to evaluate students’ work.


Place to collect evidence of a student’s literacy development. It may include artifacts collected by the student, the teacher, or both.

Process-Oriented Assessment

A teacher’s direct observations of students’ reading and writing abilities for the purpose of noting which specific behaviors or strategies students use.

Professional Teaching Standards

Standards related to how well the teacher performs.

Reading Capacity Level

The highest level of material that students can understand when the passage is read to them.


The process of teachers analyzing students’ retellings of text to gauge their level of comprehension and use of language. In examining the retellings, teachers look for the number of events recalled, how students interpret the message, and how students use details or make inferences to substantiate ideas.

Running Records

A procedure for analyzing students’ oral reading and noting their strengths and weaknesses when using various reading strategies.

Scoring Rubric

A tool describing the levels of performance a student must demonstrate related to a particular achievement goal, whether it is written or oral.

Showcase Portfolio

A collection of artifacts taken from the working portfolio that demonstrates excellence in achievement.

Standard Deviation

A number describing the variability in scores as indicated by their distance from the mean, or average.

Standard Error of Measurement

A number representing the error associated with a test.

Standardized Testing

The use of norm-referenced tests to measure reading and writing skills as well as their subskills.

Standards-Based Performance Assessment

Assessment tasks designed to show what has been learned as it relates to a particular content standard.

Stanine Scores

Scores that have been converted into nine equally spaced groups, with 1 being the lowest.

Summative Assessment

A compilation of summary data provided at the end of a program, units of study, or other intervals to report progress.

Working Portfolio

A collection of completed work samples or works in progress that may be chosen for placement in a showcase portfolio.

Writing Folder

A folder where students keep rough drafts in various stages of the writing process and other daily compositions or reports, topics for future writing, and notes from minilessons.