• Assessments in District 41


    Illinois Snapshot of Early Literacy (ISEL)

    The ISEL test is administered to all kindergarten and grade 1 students in the fall and spring. For those students who scored below the 50% in the fall, they will also be assessed in the winter to monitor their progress.

    A Parent’s Guide to the Illinois Snapshot of Early Literacy (ISEL)

    The Illinois Snapshot of Early Literacy is a reading performance inventory for early literacy skills. It provides an assessment of students’ literacy strengths and competencies and assists the classroom teacher in developing lessons to meet each child’s needs.

    The ISEL is based on scientific research and classroom practice. You can access your child’s scores in Skyward. You will see the score (the number scored correctly) and the range (the percentile). The range/percentile indicates your child’s performance in relation to a ‘normed’ population of students from across the state. The 50th percentile (range) indicates that a child is making adequate literacy progress. A performance at the 30th percentile (range) or lower indicates that a child may be at risk of not making adequate literacy progress.

    Seven ISEL snapshots are assessed in District 41. These are administered to kindergarten and first grade students two to three times a year.

    Alphabet Recognition assesses a child’s ability to notice the concept that letters have unique features and specific names.

    • Why is this important? With an inventory of known letters, the child is familiar with the visual details of print associated with emergent reading and writing.
    • How can I help my child? Provide opportunities for your child to identify, match, and or sort upper and lowercase magnetic letters. Play games such as Lotto, Concentration and Go Fish. Read a variety of simple alphabet books. Search for and circle specific letters on a printed page.

    Story Listening assesses a child’s ability to listen to a story read aloud as well as to respond to questions about the story.

    • Why is this important? Listening to stories is especially important because children develop a sense of story and increase their vocabulary knowledge.
    • How can I help my child? Help your child identify story elements such as characters, setting and plot while reading. Ask questions about the story before, during and after reading aloud to your child.

    Phonemic Awareness assesses a child’s ability to hear initial consonant sounds and to identify words that begin with the same sound.

    • Why is this important? Research acknowledges that phonemic awareness is one of the best predictors of reading success among kindergarten children and for reading performance among first and second grade children.
    • How can I help my child? Play rhyming games with your child. Pronounce words slowly to highlight individual sounds. Read poems, songs and chants together. Match and sort pictures and words according to their beginning sounds.

    One-to-One Matching assesses a child’s concept of words as measured by how accurately the child repeats a sentence (after hearing it) while concurrently pointing to each of the words as he repeats that sentence.

    • Why is this important? Acquiring a concept of a word often is considered a prerequisite for developing an initial sight word vocabulary.
    • How can I help my child? Point to the words as you read to your child. Help your child identify the differences between the spaces in a sentence, the letters in a sentence, and the words in a sentence.

    Letter Sounds is an assessment that determines the number of letter sounds the child can orally reproduce correctly.

    • Why is this important? Children who are in control of letter-sound relationships can use this knowledge to decode unknown words in print.
    • How can I help my child? Build three and four letter words with magnetic letters. Read simple alphabet books. Pronounce words slowly and ask your child to identify the first sound of each word.

    Developmental Spelling measures the child’s level of phonemic awareness, letter-sound knowledge, and sequential letter production.

    • Why is this important? Developmental spelling is a complex task involving three related areas. Teachers use spelling as a tool to gain insight into a child’s thinking about words, noting whether or not a child can hear the sounds components of a word as well as represent them.
    • How can I help my child? Ask your child to write simple dictated words and sentences. (Conventional spelling is not necessary.) Play spelling games such as Boggle,Spill and Spell, and Junior Scrabble.

    Word Recognition assesses the child’s ability to determine the number of isolated words that can be read independently.

    • Why is this important? Children need a large repertoire of words that can be recognized instantly. These are typically words that are seen frequently in texts. (e.g. a, and, the, to) As the number of sight words increase for a child, less attention may be devoted to word recognition, and the child can shift attention to the meaning of the story.
    • How can I help my child? Ask your child to identify simple high frequency words in magazines and newspapers. Make a Bingo game using high frequency words.

    (Illinois State Board of Education/ ISEL)

    Measures of Academic Progress (MAP) Test
    The MAP test is a computer-based assessment that measures student achievement in reading and math. It is a personalized assessment because it adapts to each student’s learning level. The MAP test is administered to all students in grades K - 8, three times a year and allows us to monitor individual student progress over time. All of your child’s MAP results are viewable in Skyward. You can access them as follows:
    Parents and guardians can also see the reports in Skyward Family Access. Here's how:

    1. Log into Skyward Family Access.
    2. On the left, click Report Cards (+ other reports).
    3. A list of reports will appear (mostly old report cards). Click on the link NWEA-MAP Student Progress Report.
    4. The report will open in Adobe Acrobat Reader.

    Additional information to further understand the scores.

    What is a RIT Score?
    A RIT Score is a way of measuring in equal units. The RIT scale score shows a student’s current achievement level. Students who perform in specific RIT ranges typically demonstrate specific skills. Please understand that a RIT score is not tied to a specific grade or age level. It is tied to specific skills. When we know the RIT range a student is performing in, we know the skills that the student should have mastered. Because many students have taken the MAP, we have a general idea of how a child should progress in a year. Scores are reported in a range. Students seldom receive the same score if retested but they will probably receive a score within the same range.

    Your child’s Progress Report provides you with your child’s RIT range as well as the average RIT range for students in your child’s grade in the district. It also provides you with the RIT for the Norm Group Average. This is a very large group of students who took the test for the given year.

    What is a Percentile Score?
    The Percentile Score is another way to compare your child’s results with other children in the norm group. The percentile shows how your child ranks when compared with the norm group. It shows the percent of students who had a RIT score less than or equal to your child’s score. A percentile score of 75% for a fourth grader means that the fourth grader scored better than 75% of the fourth graders nationally who have taken MAP.

    Goal Areas
    The content for each of the assessments is categorized into “goal areas”. Each goal area is further divided into skills. The Progress Reports provide a breakdown on how your child did in each goal area. The goal areas have been aligned to the new Common Core Standards.

    Lexiles are another type of score. They are found under the Reading Goals Performance. A Lexile is a universal unit of measurement for matching a child’s reading level to the correct level of books. Many librarians, book publishers and other organizations providing print materials are now listing the Lexile level. If a student has a lexile range of 600 – 750, reading materials in that range could be checked to see if they will be too easy or too difficult to read. Lexiles are a guide. They should never be the sole factor in determining reading materials for a student. Lexiles in combination with the student’s interests should be considered.

    What Parents Can Do
    MAP scores are only one measure. Classroom work and other tests should help to shape your child’s learning profile. Never make big assumptions based upon one MAP score.

    Use the Lexile scores to assist your child with choosing print materials at the right level. Again, these scores are just a guide.

    If there is a concern about your child’s performance, ask your child’s teacher for the specific skills that your child is supposed to know. A list of skills for each test and each RIT range is available.

    For additional parent resources, CLICK HERE

    Fountas and Pinnell Benchmark Assessment System (F & P)
    The Fountas and Pinnell Benchmark Assessment System is used as an informal universal reading assessment in District 41. Developed by nationally-recognized literacy leaders Irene Fountas and Gay Su Pinnell, this assessment focuses on oral and silent reading, literal and inferential comprehension, and identifying author’s craft in writing. The student reads orally(and silently in intermediate grades) from a text written exclusively for this assessment. The teacher listens and observes carefully, noting both what the student does well and what he or she has difficulties with. A comprehension conversation follows, during which the teacher asks a series of questions to understand how the student thinks about his or her reading. Because this is an informal assessment and not a standardized test, teachers can administer it as needed throughout the school year to monitor student progress and adjust instruction accordingly.

    Following the assessment, the teacher can use the Fountas and Pinnell Continuum of Literacy Learning to determine strategies and texts that will help the student develop as a reader. Students who need extra support may receive instruction that uses the Leveled Literacy Intervention program, which was also created by Fountas and Pinnell. These components complement the assessment system and help teachers provided unified instruction that meets the rigor of the Common Core State Standards.

    FOR INFORMATION ON IAR (The Illinois Assessment of Readiness) and Common Core CLICK HERE!