Data Collection Source 2: ARB Task

 To gain more information about what goes on in my students minds as they read, I gave them a ARBs test and asked them to talk me through how they were answering the questions and how they found the reading.

I alternated between two texts: "its snowing again" by Jan Pye Marry and "Great-Grandpa" by Sue Gibbison. Both of these are set at early level 3 and the purpose of the test was to see how well they understood the main idea of a text.

I chose this form of formative assessment as the tests were focussed on the aspect of reading I've noticed the students find most challenging. The texts and tests are short, so it is feasible to spend time with the students and ask them to narrate their thinking aloud to me so I can see what strategies they might apply, or where they get stuck. I chose a text at a year 5 level, which should be accomplishable for the students. The results are as follows:

"I mostly understood the story, but I found some hard words and harder parts". He told me a lot about the story (more detail than the others). He correctly chose 3 main points in the story, but could not identify the main idea overall. He actually remembered detail from the text which he used to explain his choice of the answers. He shared that he used to enjoy reading, but lost confidence in year 6 (also when he stopped making progress) and stopped reading for fun. 

G1: "The text was easy, the book was about Grandpa remembering about how he was in the war, he remembered it like it was yesterday. I understood most of the words and didn't find anything too tricky."
She was able to say the very rough point of the book, but it was what could be understood in the orientation, she couldn't identify plot points. She picked one out of three main ideas correctly from a list and her other ideas were very minor plot points - e.g. Grandpa smoked a pipe. She managed to put 2 points in the correct order but got stuck with the third. She had such a vague understanding of the book and didn't seem to be aware of any strategies that could support her, besides looking at the pictures which she did a lot while reading. 

G2: "The story was quite easy, I found the words okay to understand. This book was about living in the snow, it told you things like how you have to dress up warm and shovel snow off of the pathway."She looked at the pictures a fair amount while reading to support her understanding. This student could articulate the rough point of the book, but could only pick out one/three statements that contained the key ideas. She really struggled to pick out the main point of the book from a list, she said it was because it was really hard to know what people or the author think is the point of the book.

B2: "The book was about a 3 or 4 out of 5 for how well I understood it, I found some parts of it hard because I didn't understand some of the words" (he showed me some - technical words such as fahrenheit). "The book was about snow, like how people build snow walls and if you throw snow it feels like rocks." I like maths cause I know it is important for life and college. I need to get much better at reading and writing. This child did so much better 1:1 than he does in class, he shared that he feels shy with others. He got 1/3 for the questions about the key ideas (he had 2/3 to start with but then got carried away imagining a different one), but he correctly picked the main idea! He had strong decoding strategies (as all students in this group do).

G3: "The book was okay, i didn't get stuck on any words or anything. The book was about great grandpa telling his great grandson about in his life. He used to be in the war." This student correctly chose 2/3 of the main ideas of the books and her third guess wasn't too far off. She couldn't put them back in order, but at this point it was close to the end of the block so she lacked the motivation to look back through the book, but when I asked her how she knew the order she said "oh, I should have looked back through the story". So she at least had a strategy to do this. This student had a better understanding than the other two girls.

B3: "The book was about a 4 for me as I understood the story well and know that I could explain it well. It wasn't a 5 because there were a few tricky words or phrases that I couldn't understand. This story was about Great-Grandpa who loves to smoke and he gives the pipe to his grandson. He went to war, it could have been WW1 as hes a great-grandpa." He was able to pick 2/3 of the important points, but he found it hard to organise them. He did have an idea of what the whole text was about. His reading was very fluent. I think with motivation this student will be easier to accelerate than some of the others as he had more comprehension strategies.


Low confidence
Quite a few of the students expressed that they didn't feel confident in their reading ability of that they are good readers. Some needed some coaxing and positive support to give the test a fair go.

Many of the students noted vocabulary as something they found most challenging. While they have decoding strategies, they don't understand lots of words which prevent them from accessing the full meaning within the text.

Main idea of a text
While the students had some success identifying key points from the story, they all found identifying the overall point of the text very challenging. 


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