A running record is a simple assessment that a teacher administers one-on-one with a student to determine their developmental reading level. Credit goes to Marie Clay for designing this effective reading tool for us. [http://scholastic.ca/education/movingupwithliteracyplace/pdfs/grade4/runningrecords.pdf]
READING BEHAVIORS ASSESSED
There are many reading behaviors to be considered on a running record are:
- number of words of the text
- error rate
- self correction rate
- time [seconds] it takes the student to read the text
TYPES OF ERRORS
Then there are three areas to look at to determine what kind of error(s) the student makes when reading:
First, the reason for an error(s) could be that the student is trying to make out the meaning of the text by substituting their own word. The first question you have to ask is “Does the error make sense?”
Second, the reason for an error(s) could be visual. The second question to ask about the error is: “Does the error look visually right?” In other words, is the student attempting to figure out the word by cueing themselves to think of a word with the same first letter(s) or a word that has the same chunk of letters in it, or the same letters but in a different order [like “saw” and “was.”]
Third, ask if the error is structural error(s): “Does it sound right?” This error(s) may be the substitution of a word that sounds correct with the syntax of our language.
When administering a running record, it can be administered without recording the reason for the error, but I have found that even when I don’t record, my ear catches the reason for the error(s). For example, on the running record example that I have attached, most of this student’s errors are visual. This particular student attempted to figure out the word by substituting a word that has similar first letters.
HOW TO MARK A RUNNING RECORD
One big thing to note is that when administering a running record, the teacher does not have to have a complete copy of the text for you to mark. I choose a book, and then as the student reads, I mark the words like “fractions.” Here are the following ways I find most efficient and useful in marking the text as the student reads:
- The word on top is the word the student substituted, and the word on the bottom is the correct word in the text.
- If I tell a student a word, I mark a “T” on the top. When a student appeals for help, I wait for approximately 3 seconds before telling them the word.
- If a word is repeated, I write the word(s) repeated and place an underline mark underneath the word the number of times the word(s) is repeated.
- If a word(s) is omitted, I circle it.
- If a student self-corrects, I write the letters “SC” out from the error(s) and place a dot over it for merely for it to stand out for my sake when counting the score.
- If a word(s) is added, I insert the caret mark and then write in the word(s) above.
HOW OFTEN TO ASSESS
These are the guidelines I use to to determine how often I assess:
- A struggling student [one that is more than one reading level behind] needs assessed every 2 weeks.
- A student that is one level behind needs assessed every month.
- A student that is on level needs assessed every six weeks.
DETERMINE LEVEL OF READING
When determining the accuracy level of the student the following scores categorize a student’s reading level:
- If a student’s accuracy score is 95% or above, they are reading at an independent level.
- If a student’s accuracy level is 90% – 94%, they are reading at their instructional level.
- If a student’s accuracy level is reading at 89% or below, they are reading at a frustrational level.
Now it is time to review the formulas in determining the features assessed:
- Write down the total words of the text be assessed on the running record sheet.
- Accuracy level = wr [words read] – e [errors] divided by wr.
- Time in seconds = minutes multiplied by 60 + any additional seconds. Purchase a good timer because you will use it constantly. Set a timer and record the time. Most timers will record the time in minutes and seconds. So this has to be converted into seconds.
- Fluency rate = wr [words read] divided by seconds x 60
- Error rate = wr [words read] divided by errors
- Self-corrections are just counted
- Self-correction rate = number of errors made + sc [self corrections] divided by self corrections
Other things to consider when a student reads a text are:
- Does a student understand the directionality of the text.? In other words do they read from right to left. Do they turn the pages right to left when reading.
- Does a student reading with inflection, tone [not monotone], and prosody [fluency]?
WHEN DOES A STUDENT PASS?
So the big question to answer is when does a student pass a reading level. To know this, there are only 2 things that ultimately determine whether a student passes a level assessed.
- Accuracy is the first component. Can the student read the text with 95% accuracy. When considering if a student passes the decoding reading portion of the text, it is solely based on accuracy formula. Therefore, calculate their accuracy with the accuracy formula above. Fluency is not a factor to determine if a student passes the text read because a student can be a rather slow reader and read accurately and it not influence their comprehension.
- Comprehension is the second component. Can the student orally answer 3/5 questions correct of 3/4 questions correct? If so, then they adequately comprehend the text.
I know this sounds like a lot, but once you begin doing a running record and get the hang of it, all of the above things get easy to figure, and it becomes second nature for a reading teacher. There are many things we do as reading teachers, but perfecting a running record assessment is the best way to get a pulse on any reader.
Below is a FREE copy of a running record for you to print and use, and then I attached an example for to show what a completed running record looks like.
Courtesty of graphic: http://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Store/Optimistic-Kids-And-Families-Clipart