Alternative Assessment Techniques for Reading & Writing by Wilma H. MillerAlternative Assessment Techniques for Reading & Writing by Wilma H. Miller

Alternative Assessment Techniques for Reading & Writing

byWilma H. Miller

Paperback | May 22, 1995

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This practical resource helps elementary classroom, remedial reading, and LD teachers make the best possible informal assessment of a child's specific reading, writing, and spelling strengths and weaknesses and attitudes toward reading.

Written in easy-to-follow nontechnical language, it provides a multitude of tested informal assessment strategies and devices, such as "kid watching," retellings, journals, IRIs, writing surveys, portfolios, think alouds and more-- including more than 200 reproducible assessment devices ready for immediate use!

You'll find a detailed description of each informal assessment techniques along with step-by-step procedures for its use and, wherever possible, one or more reproducible sample devices. Complete answer keys for each device are included with the directions.

Among the unique topics covered are the innovative Individual Reading Inventory, San Diego Quick Assessment List, El Paso Phonics Survey, QAD Chart, Holistic scoring of writing and Reproducible devices for portfolio assessment.

In short, Alternative Assessment Techniques for Reading and Writing offers a wealth of tested, ready-to-use informal assessment information and devices that should save the teacher a great deal of time and energy in making a useful assessment of any student's literacy ability!
Wilma H. Miller, Ed.D., is former Professor of Education at Illinois State University in Normal, where she taught undergraduate and graduate students in reading for 25 years. Prior to that she was an elementary school teacher in Illinois and Arizona.Dr. Miller has written nearly 200 publisher journal articles dealing with various aspec...
Title:Alternative Assessment Techniques for Reading & WritingFormat:PaperbackDimensions:496 pages, 10.89 × 8.29 × 1.34 inPublished:May 22, 1995Publisher:WileyLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0130425680

ISBN - 13:9780130425683

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Table of Contents

The practical help this book offers.

CHAPTER 1: Using informal devices in assessing reading and writing ability.

Definition of literacy as used in this handbook.

Definition of assessment and evaluation as used in this handbook.

Definition of informal assessment and evaluation.

Importance of integrating assessment with instruction.

Advantages of using informal assessment devices.

Limitations of using informal assessment devices.

The future of informal assessment devices.

Brief case summaries.


Literacy strengths.

Literacy weaknesses.

Suggestions for Chris's corrective (remedial) literacy program.


Literacy strengths.

Literacy weaknesses.

Suggestions for Matt's corrective (remedial) literacy program


CHAPTER 2: Using checklists and other informal devices to assess competencies and weaknesses in visual perception ability, emergent literacy skills, word-identification skills, and oral reading.

The importance of being an expert "kid-watcher" or observer of children's behavior.

Importance of language development to success in literacy.

Reproducible "Language development checklist".

Description of visual-perception ability.

Strategies for improving visual-perception ability.

Informal visual-perception test.

Directions for administering.

Directions for scoring.


Description of alphabet knowledge.

Improving alphabet knowledge ability.

Strategies and materials.

Reproducible "Alphabet knowledge checklist".

Description of concepts about books.

Improving ability in concepts about books.

Reproducible "Concepts about books checklist".

Description of concepts about print.

Improving ability in the skills assessed by the "Concepts about print checklist".

Reproducible "Concepts about print checklist".

Brief description of sight-word recognition and sight-word identification.

The Dolch basic sight-word test.

The instant words.

Improving ability in sight-word recognition and sight-word identification.

Wide reading.


Activity sheets.


Brief description of graphophonic (phonic) analysis.

Improving ability in semantic (contextual) analysis .


Activity sheets.


Brief description of structural analysis.

Improving ability in structural analysis.


Activity sheets.


Brief description of semantic (contextual) analysis.

Improving ability in semantic (contextual) analysis.


Activity sheets.

Description of oral reading.

Improving ability in oral reading.

Reproducible checklists in the word-identification techniques and oral reading.

CHAPTER 3: Using checklists and other informal devices to assess competencies and weaknesses in vocabulary, comprehension skills, the basic study skills, and silent reading.

Brief description of vocabulary knowledge.

Improving ability in vocabulary knowledge.

Brief description of reading comprehension.

Explicit (literal or factual) comprehension.

Implicit (interpretative or inferential) comprehension.

Critical (implicit or evaluative) reading.

Creative (schema implicit or applied) comprehension.

Improving ability in reading comprehension strategies.

Brief description of the study skills.

Improving ability in the study skills.

Reproducible checklists.

Description of assessment using the retelling techniques.

Improving ability in the retelling technique.

Evaluating a book or story retelling.

Reproducible story (book) retelling ability checklist.

Checklist in self-monitoring of reading comprehension.

Checklist for evaluating reading competencies in an intermediate grade whole language classroom.

Checklist for pleasure reading.

CHAPTER 4: Using miscue analysis in assessing competencies and weaknesses in reading.

Description of miscue analysis.

Advantages of using miscue analysis.

Limitations of miscue analysis.

In summary.

Description of miscue analysis as used in the individual reading inventory in this handbook.

Sample record sheet for miscue analysis.

Interpreting the child's responses on this type of miscue analysis.

Description of another system of miscue analysis.

Illustration of this miscue analysis coding system.

Sample summary sheet of oral reading miscue.

CHAPTER 5: Variations of the individual reading inventory.

Description of a typical individual reading inventory.

Advantages and limitations of using an IRI.

Constructing the word lists and graded reading passages of an IRI.

Directions for administering the word lists and graded reading passages of an IRI.

Directions for evaluating the word lists and graded reading passages of an IRI.

The word lists and graded reading passages for form L and form M.

List of commercial individual reading inventories.

The interest inventory.

Sample interest inventory.

Content reading inventories.

Models of two content inventories.

CHAPTER 6: Using informal inventories and other informal assessment devices in the word-identification techniques.

Description of letter-name knowledge.

Strategies for assessing letter-name knowledge.

Assessment sheet for evaluating letter-name recognition in isolation.

Assessing letter-name knowledge in context.

Assessment sheet for recognizing upper-case and lower-case letter-names in context.

Constructing and giving the informal letter-assessment device.

Brief description of sight-word knowledge.

Strategies for assessing sight-word identification in isolation.

Activity sheets for assessing sight-word recognition in isolation.

Assessing sight-word recognition in context.

Activity sheets for assessing sight-word recognition in context.

San Diego quick assessment list.

Brief description of graphophonic (phonic) analysis.

Reproducible graphophonic (phonic) analysis inventories.

Quick survey word list.

El Paso phonic survey.

The name test.

Brief description of structural analysis.

Reproducible structural analysis inventories.

Brief description of semantic (context) cues.

Assessing ability in semantic (context) cues.

Using the cloze procedure as an assessment device for semantic cues.

Reproducible semantic (context) inventories and cloze procedures.

CHAPTER 7: Additional alternative ways of assessing reading skills and attitudes.

Description of alternative kinds of teacher-pupil reading conferences.

Sample teacher-pupil reading conference at the third-grade reading level.

Description of alternative kinds of teacher-pupil interviews.

Assessing and activating prior knowledge.

Description of the pre-reading procedure (Prep).

Using questionnaires and inventories to assess prior knowledge.

A sample questionnaire-inventory to assess prior knowledge.

Reproducible schema assessment device.

Brief description of reading comprehension.

The levels of reading comprehension.

Textually explicit (literal or factual) comprehension.

Textually implicit (interpretive of inferential) comprehension.

Critical (textually implicit or evaluative) reading.

Scriptually implicit (script implicit, schema implicit, creative, or applied) comprehension.

Questioning strategies or QARs.

Using metacognition for assessing reading comprehension.

Examples of a self-monitoring (metacognition) or self-correction.

Assessment device and a simple metacognition checklist.

Brief description of "Think-Alouds".

Reproducible example of a story that can be used for a "think-aloud".

Brief description of creative book sharing.

Reproducible examples of creative book sharing.

Brief description of story frames.

Reproducible story frames.

Brief description of a QAD chart.

Reproducible example of a QAD chart.

Brief description of the reading autobiography.

Reproducible examples of reading autobiographies.

Brief description of a self-appraisal of reading ability.

Reproducible self-appraisal devices.

Reproducible book-selection device.


CHAPTER 8: Using checklists to assess competencies and weaknesses in drawing, writing, and spelling.

Brief description of emergent writing behavior.

Reproducible checklist of emergent writing behavior.

Brief description of creative and context writing at the primary, intermediate, and middle-upper levels.

Reproducible checklists of writing behavior.

Reproducible checklists for computer word-processing.

Reproducible checklist of editing behaviors.

CHAPTER 9: Using holistic scoring and the informal writing inventory to assess writing.

Description of holistic scoring used in this handbook.





The overall rating.

Actual children's writing samples that have been scored holistically.


"The Candy Monster".



"An Imaginary [sic] Trip".


Examples of compositions that give you practice in using holistic scoring.

"My Mother".

"The Mystery of the Green GSA" [sic].


"Save Our Planet".

"Social Studies".


Scores for the holistic writing samples.

Brief description of an individual writing inventory.

Reproducible individual writing inventory developed for this handbook.

CHAPTER 10: Other alternative means of assessing writing and spelling ability.

Have the child at the emergent literacy level write all the words he/she can.

Words per T-unit.

Brief description of writing coaching/conferencing.

Reproducible sheet for recording information about a student's writing.

Brief description of writing survey.

Reproducible example of a writing survey.

Brief description and model of a dialogue journal.

Brief description and sample of a developmental spelling test.

Brief description of sentence-combining as a writing assessment strategy.

Reproducible activity sheet emphasizing sentence-combining.


CHAPTER 11: Using portfolio assessment in any literacy program.

Brief description of some of the basic characteristics of a literacy portfolio.

Description of some of the elements that comprise a useful working portfolio.

Portfolio holder.

Table of contents.

Reading/writing log.

Drafts of all types of writing.

Reading response journal.

Dialogue journal.

Writing done outside of class.

Checklists and surveys of various types.

Tape-recorded oral-reading protocols.


Student-teacher conference notes.

Self-assessment devices.

Various types of notes and memos.

Teacher anecdotes and observations.

Graphs (records) of progress.

Should standardized and informal test scores be included in a student's portfolio?

The advantages and limitations of using literacy portfolios.

The importance of using portfolio assessment in whole language program.

Some guidelines for starting portfolio assessment in any literacy program.

The importance of student self-selection and self-assessment of materials in his or her literacy portfolio.

Various types of reproducible devices that can be included in a portfolio assessment program.

Letter to parents.

My portfolio: table of contents.

How I am organizing my portfolio.

This is my portfolio.

My reading/writing log.

Student-teacher literacy portfolio conference notes.

Self-assessment device.

What I think about my reading and writing.

Classmate review sheet.

Parent portfolio review form.

Evaluation of a portfolio.


CHAPTER 12: Closing thoughts.

Grading in a whole language program that mainly uses informal assessment.

Sample report card showing some literacy behaviors.