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Primary Performance Assessment: Insights from Strategic Prompting

Barbara Marinak, Penn State Harrisburg, PA, USA
Linda B. Gambrell, Clemson University, SC, USA
Susan A. Mazzoni, University of Maryland College Park, MD, USA

Abstract: Primary educators are attempting to implement meaningful literacy assessment in an age of high-stakes testing. Mandated tests often prove frustrating because of the decontextualized form in which phonemic awareness, rapid word naming, and phonics are assessed (Goodman, 2006). In addition, teachers report and research indicates that data from such tests does not fully inform instruction (Riedel, 2007). As a result, many early childhood educators continue organizing their instruction based on effective performance measures (Fawson & Reutzel, 2000; Taylor, Pearson, Clark, & Walpole, 2000). This practitioner presentation describes strategic prompting, an evidence-based performance framework grounded in diagnostic instruction (Walker, 2008). Specifically, examples of prompts that address higher-order graphaphonic knowledge and strategy use for children reading upper-level guided reading texts (F-M) will be discussed. Students' responses to these prompts are valuable performance assessments that can be used to immediately inform instruction.

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