Using Diagnostic Tests to Plan Lessons
Oct 25, 2009 Lesson Planning 4954 Views
When implemented effectively, diagnostic tests help guide instruction and areas of classroom planning in early literacy. On the level of lesson planning, diagnostic tests can be tailored and adapted to help teachers work with struggling learners.
The Basics of Diagnostic Tests
Diagnostic tests help the reading and education practitioner identify specific areas of student weakness and difficulty so that an appropriate remedial program can be made. The results provide the teacher with early information about students' reading abilities in order to help teachers understand the nature of their reading difficulties. Here are some categories for preliminary assessment of students and their reading:
- Students can recognize sound/letter correspondences in isolation
- Students can recognize the sounds of both the consonants and the vowels in simple decoding
- Students can read and understand individual words (both familiar and unfamiliar)
- Students can read and understand sentences in isolation and in context
Oral Diagnostic Tests
Oral diagnostic tests can be used for those students experiencing serious reading problems and difficulties such as dyslexics. If the teacher does find any indications of dyslexia during initial classroom assessments, the student should be assessed by a professional, if this has not already been done.
How Diagnostic Tests Help with Lesson Planning
Knowing what students can do has significant implications for reading instruction. Teachers can diversify instruction by providing more opportunities to connect written and oral work.
On a curriculum level, teachers can plan around areas of word and sound recognition that meet the needs of their mixed ability classes. For example, teachers can plan early decoding and reading activities:
- The Three R's: Recycle (use in different ways) repeat and review of sound/symbol correspondences, phonics, and vocabulary.
- Using read-alouds: In a read-aloud, teachers can spring from the story to teach letter-sound correspondences, words, sentences, and eventually, other stories. Also, read-alouds represent an appropriate oral language program suitable for the language learning development of early literacy and second language learners. However, the read-aloud is not completely an oral experience. Teachers should connect the oral experiences with early reading components of early literacy.
On the level of phonological awareness, teachers can also implement specific diagnostic assessments that focus on recognizing the sounds of whole words as well as individual initial and last sound-letter correspondences.
Diagnostic tests provide the teacher with early information about the students so they can plan tailored reading lessons to deal with students who might be at-risk for reading difficulties. Diagnostic assessments can help refine areas of reading instruction.
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