STAR. Early Literacy Teacher s Guide

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1 STAR Early Literacy Teacher s Guide

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3 STAR Early Literacy Teacher s Guide

4 The STAR products logo, STAR Early Literacy, STAR Reading, Accelerated Reader, Power Lessons, Renaissance Learning, Renaissance Place, Make Teaching Exciting and Learning Fun, and the Renaissance Learning logo are trademarks of Renaissance Learning, Inc., and its subsidiaries, registered, common law, or pending registration in the United States and other countries. Macintosh is a trademark of Apple Inc., registered in the U.S. and other countries. Windows is a registered trademark of Microsoft Corporation in the United States and other countries. ISBN by Renaissance Learning, Inc. All rights reserved. Printed in the United States of America. This publication is protected by U.S. and international copyright laws. It is unlawful to duplicate or reproduce any copyrighted material without authorization from the copyright holder. If this publication contains pages marked Reproducible Form, only these pages may be photocopied and used by teachers within their own schools. They are not to be reproduced for private consulting or commercial use. For more information, contact: 06/08 Renaissance Learning, Inc. P.O. Box 8036 Wisconsin Rapids, WI (800)

5 Contents Learn the Basics Get Started Introduction...1 The Purpose of STAR Early Literacy...5 An Overview of the Assessment...5 Who Takes STAR Early Literacy Assessments?...6 What Can STAR Early Literacy Do For You?...6 Consider the Student Experience...9 Create Testing Guidelines...11 Prepare Yourself and Your Students...12 Begin Student Testing...13 Consult the Testing Checklist...13 Understand the Data Learn About STAR Early Literacy Scores...17 Review Domains and Skills...19 Put the Data in Perspective...20 Align STAR Early Literacy with Your Needs Look Ahead Screen...23 Diagnose Students Strengths and Weaknesses to Inform Instruction...24 Group and Regroup Students...26 Monitor Progress...27 Identify At-Risk Students...29 See the Whole Picture...30 Connect STAR Early Literacy with STAR Reading...33 Next Steps...33 Resources...34 Appendix Instructions for Common Software Tasks...37 Sample Reports...40 Testing Checklist...47 Skills Assessed by STAR Early Literacy...48 Benchmarks...51 Power Lessons...53 Frequently Asked Questions...82 Index...85 iii

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7 Introduction Congratulations! You have purchased one of the most effective software tools for assessing early literacy skills STAR Early Literacy. As with all tools, the results you and your students achieve with STAR Early Literacy depend on how you use it. This guide offers suggestions for finding the best fit for STAR Early Literacy in your classroom. We begin with the purpose of STAR Early Literacy and basic information about how students use the program. We then consider issues connected with testing, including the student experience. After that, we discuss the data you ll receive from the program, and how to put it in perspective. Finally, we cover basic uses of STAR Early Literacy in the classroom, along with reports that may support your intended use. The appendix includes step-by-step instructions for the most common software tasks, sample reports, a testing checklist, definitions of the skills assessed by STAR Early Literacy, sample Power Lessons, and frequently asked questions. We hope what you find here will help you succeed with STAR Early Literacy. Bear in mind, however, that this is only an introduction. To learn more about professional development opportunities, visit our website: 1

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9 Learn the Basics

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11 Learn the Basics The Purpose of STAR Early Literacy It s the first day of school! Students arrive, excited to explore the classroom and look at the new books and activities. As their teacher, you ask them to gather in the reading area. The students hurry over, giggling and whispering, and eventually begin to quiet down as they get settled. Finally, it s silent, and you take a look around all eyes are on you. Now comes the difficult part. What s next? What do these students already know? How do you begin teaching them early literacy skills? Can they recognize the letters of the alphabet? Can they identify vowel sounds? Are some already reading? This is where STAR Early Literacy comes in. It helps you figure out what students already know, determine how to proceed with instruction, and gauge how students are progressing. It takes a lot of guesswork out of your hands in a short amount of time. Of course, STAR Early Literacy doesn t replace your expertise and judgment, but it does offer a reliable and efficient way to assess early literacy skills. STAR Early Literacy reports meaningful data, such as: Levels of proficiency in seven early literacy domains, involving 41 different sets of skills or concepts. Emergent, transitional, and probable reader classifications. Identification of students who may be at risk for reading failure. Criterion-referenced scores that can support planning instruction and monitoring progress. STAR Early Literacy s regular, immediate feedback helps you make decisions, and those decisions ultimately improve student learning. An Overview of the Assessment STAR Early Literacy was especially designed for use with emergent readers and includes the following features: Computer-administered. Students wear headphones to listen to the assessment, enabling most students to test independently. Computer-adaptive. Because questions are tailored to each student (based on the sequence of previous responses), STAR Early Literacy minimizes student frustration, and allows students to test at their individual levels. Brief. Each test takes about 10 minutes for students to complete. Standardized. STAR Early Literacy is delivered in a standardized fashion, ensuring comparable student results and minimizing test administrator error. 5

12 STAR Early Literacy Teacher s Guide When students take an assessment, they wear headphones while sitting at a computer, and enter responses using a keyboard or mouse. The assessment is individualized since the pattern of questions for each student is determined by their responses: incorrect responses are followed by less difficult questions and correct response are followed by more difficult questions. In about 10 minutes, students will have answered 25 questions, and you ll have immediate results. Consult the data to see how the students performed and to determine how to guide the development of skills assessed by STAR Early Literacy. Who Takes STAR Early Literacy Assessments? STAR Early Literacy is widely used with pre-k 3 students who cannot read independently. In many cases, it will be suitable for beginning readers of any age or grade level (or any student who needs early literacy skills assessed). However, because graphics and presentation are geared toward a younger audience, make sure to explain to older students why they are taking a STAR Early Literacy assessment. What Can STAR Early Literacy Do For You? Teacher Tip To help older students understand the purpose of STAR Early Literacy, explain: Reading is like a puzzle, and we need to figure out which pieces you need to complete the picture. Below are some common uses of STAR Early Literacy. For more information about using assessment data, see Align STAR Early Literacy with Your Needs starting on page 23. Beginning of the school year. Determine the initial focus of instruction, identify those in need of special help, form small groups around specific skills, and get a general sense of all students early literacy skills. During the school year. Monitor student progress, adjust current instruction or plan additional instruction, and confirm or change student groupings. End of school year. Review summaries of class performance. When deciding how to use STAR Early Literacy with your students, consider: What kind of data do you need about your students early literacy skills? Does STAR Early Literacy provide some or all of this data? When and how will you use the data? The many possibilities for using STAR Early Literacy data will be defined by your purpose for testing. For example, if collecting class data for administrators, you might test four times a year and submit Summary Reports. Or, if gauging student progress, you d likely test more frequently and view Progress Monitoring Reports. 6

13 Get Started

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15 Get Started Consider the Student Experience What do students encounter when they test? We outline the basics below, but the best way to understand the student experience is to create a fictional student, log in, and take an assessment. Answer the questions the way a student might: struggle with the practice test, allow questions to time out, answer some test items incorrectly and others correctly, and repeat the instructions for a question. This way, you ll become familiar with the test from a student s perspective. Student testing To take a STAR Early Literacy test, students put on headphones and log in to the program while sitting at a computer. After logging in, students perform the steps listed below to complete the assessment. Steps 1 3 ensure that students understand the instructions and know how to enter answers before the actual test begins. 1. Demonstration video. A video clip shows how to use the keyboard or mouse, what the questions will look like, and how to select an answer. 2. Hands-on exercise. Students demonstrate correct use of the chosen input method (keyboard or mouse). 3. Practice test. Students must answer three out of five practice test questions correctly to proceed to the actual test. 4. Actual test. Students complete 25 items independently. These questions are similar to the practice questions in format, but are targeted at each student s ability level. Teacher Tip If students will enter responses using the keyboard, put differently colored dot stickers on the 1, 2, and 3 keys to help students locate them. Refer to the Instructions for Common Software Tasks on pages to learn how to set preferences for the demonstration video and hands-on exercise. 9

16 STAR Early Literacy Teacher s Guide Student interface (using a keyboard to respond) Anthony is using the keyboard to enter his responses. Students press the <L> key to hear the question again. Notice the numbers 1, 2, and 3 appear under the response choices. Students can select a response when they see the hand icon. The student hears audio instructions: Listen carefully to what I say. Doctor. Pick the picture whose name I say. Doctor. The student presses the <1>, <2>, or <3> key to choose a response, and a square appears around the answer choice. The student presses the <Enter> key, and the answer appears on the blank line. The test proceeds to the next question. In the Renaissance Place edition of STAR Early Literacy, the purple dot shows where the mouse pointer is located. Student interface (using a mouse to respond) Anthony is using the mouse to enter his responses. Students click Listen to hear the question again. Students can select a response when they see the hand icon. The student hears audio instructions: Listen carefully to what I say. Doctor. Pick the picture whose name I say. Doctor. The student uses the mouse to click an answer, and a square appears around the answer choice. The answer appears on the blank line, and the test proceeds to the next question. 10

17 Get Started Additional testing information Audio Instructions Time Limits Monitor Password Stop a Student Test When audio instructions are first given, an ear icon is displayed to indicate that students should listen carefully. Students cannot select an answer while they see the ear icon. After the instructions, a chime sounds and the ear icon changes to a hand icon. Students can then select an answer. Testing time does not affect student scores. However, time limits on questions keep the test moving: 35 seconds for hands-on exercise questions, 60 seconds for practice test questions, and 90 seconds for actual test questions. If time runs out for a hands-on exercise or practice test question, the program notifies the student to ask the teacher for help. If time runs out for an actual test question, the program goes on to the next question and the unanswered question is treated as incorrect. A warning clock flashes in the upper right corner of the screen for the last 15 seconds of each question. If the preference is set in the software, enter the monitor password after students log in to take a test. You ll also enter the monitor password to stop a test (see below). The default monitor password is admin; refer to the Instructions for Common Software Tasks on pages to learn how to set password preferences. Stop a test at any time by pressing the <Ctrl> and <A> keys together (Windows) or the <control> and <A> keys together (Macintosh). You ll be asked to enter the monitor password to confirm this action. Data from unfinished tests is not used to calculate test scores. Create Testing Guidelines How often will students test? Testing frequency will depend on your purpose for using STAR Early Literacy. For example, some schools administer STAR Early Literacy as follows: Number of Times Administered a Year When Why One Beginning Screen or place students Two Three Four to six Beginning and end Beginning, middle, and end At the end of each marking period Use a pre/post design to evaluate programs or gauge growth Add a mid-year progress check to the pre/post design Align progress checks with school year benchmarks Once a month Monthly Monitor progress frequently Be sure to plan a testing schedule that suits your needs. For example, some schools test all of their students four times a year, but students who fall below a designated benchmark will be tested more frequently up to once a month to monitor progress. 11

18 STAR Early Literacy Teacher s Guide Can students really test once a month? Yes. The National Center on Student Progress Monitoring (NCSPM) found STAR Early Literacy meets its standards for monthly assessments. Therefore, you could test students monthly for progress-monitoring purposes. However, if testing monthly, consider the following: One month does not allow much time for students to acquire and practice new skills. Therefore, it is more difficult to see actual growth in Scaled Scores on a month-to-month basis. Students are not always consistent in taking tests. They may have peak performances in one month, but not the next month. Due to these realities, combined with the nature of standardized tests, STAR Early Literacy scores may decline from one test to the next even if the student is making good progress in classroom instruction. If individual student scores decline, be sure to also compare average scores for the whole class. If the average scores are increasing over time, then decreases in individual student scores are not a cause for concern. Chances are that students with declining scores will show score increases the next time the test is given. For more information, see the frequently asked question about this issue on pages Where will students test? In your classroom? In the computer lab? Regardless of the location you choose, check for adequate computer equipment (including quality headphones) and the potential for minimal distractions. Teacher Tip Don t try to take all students to the lab at once for their first test. If available, ask an assistant to take small groups of 4 5 students at a time. After the first test, students will be more familiar with testing procedures, and may test as a larger group. Will all students test at the same time? The number of computers in the testing location might limit whole-group student testing. If so, consider what non-testing students will do while a small group of students tests. Also, ensure that all students test within a one-week window to make their results comparable with one another. Prepare Yourself and Your Students Are your students ready to take STAR Early Literacy assessments? Are you prepared to being testing? After you ve determined your testing guidelines (how often, where, and how many students at once), consider the following: Teacher Tip Make sure students are wearing the headphones connected to their computers. They might accidentally pick up headphones for an adjacent computer, and then they ll be listening to the wrong test! Instructions for Common Software Tasks. Have you reviewed these instructions, starting on page 37, to help you navigate the software? 12

19 Get Started Input method. Will students use a keyboard or mouse to select answers? Have you set this preference in the software? Headphones. Do the headphones work properly on the computers that students will use? Take a student test. Did you a take a STAR Early Literacy test as a student? Did you test in the same location that your students will, using the same input method? Student enrollment. Are your students enrolled in the STAR Early Literacy program? Are their grade levels indicated? Student login. Do your students know how to log in to the software? If using the Renaissance Place edition, did you print the Student Information Report, which includes students user names and passwords? Begin Student Testing You ve prepared yourself and your students. Now, you re ready to begin! Whether your students will test in a computer lab or the classroom, consider the following: Monitor password. If this preference is set in the software, enter the monitor password for students after they log in so they can begin testing. Student testing routine. Are your students wearing headphones connected to the correct computer? Do they know what to do when finished testing? Testing atmosphere. Have you reduced noise and other distractions? Non-testing students. Are non-testing students engaged in activities that won t distract the testing students? Consult the Testing Checklist The checklist on the right summarizes the preparation and testing steps discussed in the previous sections. You might not get to everything on the checklist right away, instead choosing to focus on just some of the steps to get started. As you become more experienced with STAR Early Literacy testing, review the checklist again to add important elements to your testing routine. A full-size copy of the checklist is on page

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21 Understand the Data

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23 Understand the Data Learn about STAR Early Literacy Scores STAR Early Literacy reports Scaled Scores and Domain Scores, and categorizes each of the Skill Scores into one of four categories: 0 25, 26 50, 51 75, and It also reports an Estimated Oral Reading Fluency score (Est. ORF), which can make it easier for you to gauge fluency. To help you understand what these scores mean, we briefly describe them below. Scaled Scores Scaled Scores are the fundamental scores used to summarize students performance on STAR Early Literacy assessments. Of the scores that STAR Early Literacy reports, Scaled Scores provide the best indication of students overall levels of early literacy development. They are useful for measuring student ability over time and across grades or ages. The Scaled Score is based on the difficulty of all questions answered by the student, and how many of those questions the student answered correctly. Ranging from , Scaled Scores are used to place students in literacy classifications (emergent reader, transitional reader, and probable reader) and risk categories (at risk, some risk, low risk). Literacy Classifications Emergent readers ( ) Early emergent readers ( ) Students are beginning to understand that printed text has meaning. They re learning that reading involves printed words and sentences, and that print flows from left to right and from the top to the bottom of the page. Early emergent readers are also beginning to identify colors, shapes, numbers, and letters. Late emergent readers ( ) Students can identify most of the letters of the alphabet and can match most of the letters to their sounds. They re beginning to read picture books and familiar words around the home. Through repeated reading of favorite books with an adult, late emergent readers are building their vocabularies, listening skills, and understandings of print. Transitional readers ( ) Students have mastered alphabet skills and letter-sound relationships. They can identify many beginning and ending consonant sounds and long and short vowel sounds, and are probably able to blend sounds and word parts to read simple words. Transitional readers are likely using a variety of strategies to figure out words, such as pictures, story patterns, and phonics. 17

24 STAR Early Literacy Teacher s Guide Probable readers ( ) Students are becoming proficient at recognizing many words, both in and out of context. They re spending less time identifying and sounding out words, and more time understanding what was read. Probable readers start to blend sounds and word parts to read words and sentences more quickly, smoothly, and independently than they could previously. Criterion-referenced scores Criterion-referenced scores describe student performance relative to a content domain or standard. You might be familiar with this type of score since it occurs often in the classroom. For example, imagine a student scores 70% correct on a math test. That means the student understands 70% (student performance) of the math content on the test (content domain). Keep in mind: Criterion-referenced scores do not compare a student s score with other students scores. Domain Scores Domain Scores are criterion-referenced scores, and reveal how much students understand the literacy skill content assessed by STAR Early Literacy. They range from 0 100, and reflect the percentage of all items a student would be expected to answer correctly within a domain. For example, if a student s General Readiness Domain Score is 87, the student would be expected to answer 87% of all the General Readiness items correctly. Keep in mind: Domain Scores are not percentile rankings; rather, they are proficiency estimates. They estimate the percentage of items a student would answer correctly if he answered all the items within the domain or skill. They do not compare a student s performance with that of other students. Skill Score ranges On STAR Early Literacy reports, Skill Scores are categorized into four ranges: 0 25, 26 50, 51 75, and These ranges help you identify a student s level of proficiency for a specific skill. For example, if a student s Skill Score for the General Readiness skill of Differentiating letters falls within the range, the student likely has mastered this skill. Estimated Oral Reading Fluency Estimated Oral Reading Fluency (Est. ORF) is an estimate of a student s ability to read words quickly and accurately in order to comprehend text efficiently. Students with oral reading fluency demonstrate accurate decoding, automatic word recognition, and appropriate use of the rhythmic aspects of language, such as intonation, phrasing, pitch, and emphasis. After students take a STAR Early Literacy assessment, review the Student Diagnostic, Growth, or Summary Report to locate the Est. ORF score. (Reports include a placeholder for the Est. ORF score; data will be available in fall 2008 for grades 1-3.) Estimated Oral Reading Fluency is reported in correct words per minute and is based on research correlating STAR Early Literacy scores to student performance on oral reading fluency measures. 18

25 Understand the Data Review Domains and Skills STAR Early Literacy assesses student proficiency in seven early literacy domains involving 41 sets of skills. The seven domains are listed below; a list of complete descriptions of the 41 early literacy skills starts on page 48. General Readiness (GR) Assesses a student s ability to identify shapes, numbers, colors, and patterns; explore word length and word pairs; differentiate words from letters; and examine oral and print numbers. Graphophonemic Knowledge (GK) Assesses a student s ability to relate letters to corresponding sounds. Becoming aware of the symbols that represent the sounds of spoken language prepares students to understand the alphabetic principle. Graphophonemic Knowledge addresses skills and concepts such as matching uppercase and lowercase letters, recognizing the alphabet, naming letters, recognizing letter sounds, and knowing alphabetical order. Phonemic Awareness (PA) Measures a student s ability to detect and identify individual sounds within spoken words. This understanding is essential for learning to read an alphabetic language because it is these elementary sounds, or phonemes, that letters represent. Phonemic Awareness addresses skills and concepts such as rhyming words; blending word parts and phonemes; discriminating between beginning, medial, and ending sounds; understanding word length; and identifying missing sounds. Comprehension (CO) Assesses a student s ability to understand what has been read aloud, understand word meaning, and read text with correctness. Comprehension addresses skills and concepts such as identifying and understanding words, selecting the word that best completes a sentence, and answering questions about stories. Phonics (PH) Assesses a student s ability to read words using the sounds of letters, letter groups, and syllables. Phonics addresses skills and concepts such as identifying short and long vowels, beginning and ending consonants, and consonant blends and digraphs; recognizing word families; and using strategies such as consonant and vowel replacements. Vocabulary (VO) Addresses skills and concepts such as: identifying highfrequency words, matching pictures with synonyms, matching words with phrases, matching stories with words, identifying opposites, matching pictures with opposite word meaning, and identifying opposite word meanings. Structural Analysis (SA) Measures a student s ability to understand the structure of words and word parts. Structural Analysis addresses skills and concepts such as finding words; adding beginning or ending letters or syllables to a word; building words; and identifying compound words. 19

26 STAR Early Literacy Teacher s Guide Put the Data in Perspective Are all scores important to consider? Is every domain and skill applicable? Well, that depends on your curriculum and your students. Look at the data through a lens that will make it meaningful for you. For example, you might decide to focus on literacy domains currently at the center of your instruction, or you might only look at scores for skills your students should have already mastered. Below are some suggestions for putting the data in perspective. Define expectations for students As you look at the data, think about your district s expectations for a student in your grade at any one point in time in the school year. This will help you evaluate student scores against a standard. Also, keep in mind students various stages of development, along with other factors that may affect test results, such as native language, prior knowledge, and testing skills. Focus on what matters When you administer STAR Early Literacy, it reports scores for all 41 skills within the seven literacy domains. However, all of this information may not be applicable to all of your students. Focus on the skills appropriate for your students grade and ages, along with those related to the curriculum. If you identify meaningful gaps in students early literacy skills, first target the less difficult skills to help students progress toward mastery of more difficult skills. Determine if low scores indicate a weakness Keep in mind that low scores do not necessarily indicate a weakness. Has the student encountered or practiced the skill yet? The interpretation of scores depends on many factors, such as the student s stage of development, your curriculum, and the skills the student has already learned. Focus on scores for skills you ve already taught, along with prerequisite skills that students will need for future lessons. 20

27 Align STAR Early Literacy with Your Needs

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29 Align STAR Early Literacy with Your Needs STAR Early Literacy provides you with meaningful information. You take the next step by making decisions about what to do with that information. To support you in this process, some general uses of STAR Early Literacy data are listed on the following pages. Review the uses, and consider how STAR Early Literacy might best align with your needs. Screen At the beginning of the school year, gauge students early literacy skill development to establish a baseline for monitoring progress. After all students test, print a Summary Report to view the students Scaled Scores and literacy classifications (emergent reader, transitional reader, or probable reader). If some students fall below your designated benchmark, you might decide to test these students monthly to see if they re making progress. Benchmarks Renaissance Learning benchmarks serve as guidelines for identifying students who may require special help with developing the skills assessed by STAR Early Literacy. These benchmarks should not be used alone to make determinations about student development; rather, teachers should rely on them for guidance only and use them as one of several tools when evaluating students. The benchmarks are listed on page 51. If using the Renaissance Place edition of STAR Early Literacy, you can also find them in the Resources section of the software. Grade Month Scaled Score Range of Student Group At Risk Some Risk Low Risk K September January May < 430 < 478 < > 555 > 615 > September January May < 568 < 640 < > 705 > 766 > September January May < 715 < 744 < > 823 > 837 > September January May < 777 < 791 < > 853 > 861 > 868 In May, kindergarten students with Scaled Scores of less than 533 may be at risk of reading failure. 23

30 STAR Early Literacy Teacher s Guide Diagnose Students Strengths and Weaknesses to Inform Instruction Many teachers use STAR Early Literacy data to drive their instruction in different ways: to plan individual instruction, create small groups around specific skills, or find a focus for whole-group instruction. After identifying your use and reviewing the applicable reports, you could find yourself in the following situations: Student Diagnostic Report I know which skills I need to target. Reports provided enough information to plan instruction. You ve identified weaknesses for the whole class, or perhaps found specific gaps for individual students. I know something, but I need to find out more. Reports provided some information, but you need to dig deeper. For example, you discovered that your students need help with identifying initial consonants. Next, you ll perform your own assessment to discover which consonants you should target. I know how to proceed with some students, but am unsure about others. Some students data is not clear enough for you to make instructional decisions. For example, one student has Skill Scores in the range for skills you re currently covering in class. You decide to give the student some time to develop these skills. You ll check his scores after the next assessment. This report helps teachers identify strengths and weaknesses for a particular student by categorizing Domain and Skill Scores into one of four ranges: 0 25, 26 50, 51 75, and View the data against your curriculum, find the gaps, and determine which gaps should be prioritized. Estimated Oral Reading Fluency data will be available in fall 2008 for grades 1-3. Robert s teacher uses this information to target specific skills. Mastering less difficult skills will help Robert build a foundation for learning more difficult skills. 24

31 Align STAR Early Literacy with Your Needs Score Distribution Report The Score Distribution Report gives the range of scores for the whole class, making it easy for you to see which skill weaknesses are in the majority. For these skills, plan whole-group instruction so all students will benefit from the reinforcement and practice. Keep in mind that this report includes 41 skills; however, all 41 skills may not apply to your students at any one point in time. Because 10 out of 15 students are within the range for this skill, the teacher will work on identifying rhyming words with the whole class. Power Lessons Now that you ve identified skills to target, you ll need to deliver lessons that address those skills. You could consult your curricular materials, create new lessons, or rely on Power Lessons developed by Renaissance Learning. Power Lessons can help you deliver the right amount of focused instruction, and each lesson includes opportunities for students to practice the featured skill. Power Lessons may be similar to lessons you currently deliver: they re brief, they deal with a single objective, and they re integrated with books that students are working with in the classroom. Renaissance Learning offers a wide range of Power Lessons, including lessons designed for students who might be taking STAR Early Literacy assessments, such as emergent readers and students in grades K 3. The appendix includes several Power Lessons for your use, starting on page 54. To order complete sets of Power Lessons, visit our website: 25

32 STAR Early Literacy Teacher s Guide Group and Regroup Students Some teachers choose to work with small groups on early literacy skill development. Using STAR Early Literacy data, identify small groups of 3-5 students who need to work on a particular skill. Deliver supplemental lessons and practice connected with your curricular materials, or use Power Lessons to address the skill. Class Diagnostic Report (available in the Renaissance Place edition) The Class Diagnostic Report is especially helpful for grouping because it categorizes students according to Skill Score range for each skill. View this report to look for skill weaknesses according to your curriculum and the time of the school year. If some students are lacking proficiency in certain skills, work with those students in a small group. After students learn and practice skills, administer an assessment to confirm the groups, make any necessary changes, and/or form new groups. Keep in mind: STAR Early Literacy does not target specific skills when it is administered. Therefore, learning a new skill will not directly impact a student s related Skill Score. Instead, as students develop early literacy skills, their Scaled Scores increase, causing their Domain and Skill Scores to increase as well. In a small group, you ll likely target a specific skill. Administer an independent assessment to see if the students have indeed learned the skill, and focus on growth in the Scaled Score when viewing STAR Early Literacy data. 26

33 Align STAR Early Literacy with Your Needs The teacher will form small groups with these students to reinforce matching and recognizing vowel sounds. Monitor Progress Teachers can administer STAR Early Literacy on a frequent basis to monitor student and class growth in early literacy skill development. If you choose to monitor progress, view the Progress Monitoring Report (available in the Renaissance Place edition) or the Growth Report (available in the Renaissance Place and desktop editions) to view student results. The Progress Monitoring Report graphs scores for every test taken during the year for either an individual student or the whole class. These scores can be plotted against literacy classifications (emergent reader, transitional reader, probable reader) or risk categories (low risk, some risk, at risk). The sample report on page 28 shows literacy classifications. See the Identify At-Risk Students section on page 29 for a sample report that shows risk categories. The Growth Report also allows you to view growth over time, but the scores are not graphed, and are limited to two testing ranges at a time. 27

34 STAR Early Literacy Teacher s Guide Progress Monitoring Report (literacy classifications) Mrs. Rowley s kindergarten students are almost transitional readers, on average, at the end of the school year. 28

35 Align STAR Early Literacy with Your Needs Identify At-Risk Students Also use the Progress Monitoring Report to identify students who may be at risk for reading failure. Graph student scores against risk categories to easily see which students may require additional help with learning the skills assessed by STAR Early Literacy. Keep in mind: The risk categories should not be used alone to make determinations about student development; rather, teachers should rely on them for guidance only and use them as one of several tools when evaluating students. Progress Monitoring Report (risk categories) With a Scaled Score of 696 in June, Maria is at low risk for reading failure. 29

36 STAR Early Literacy Teacher s Guide See the Whole Picture Summary Report Ever wonder how all of your students are doing on a regular basis? Don t have the time to check in with each student individually? STAR Early Literacy can provide you with a status of your students early literacy skill development after each assessment. Below is an example of the Summary Report, which includes an overview of assessment data for a whole class. After each test, consult the Summary Report for your students scores and literacy classifications (emergent reader, transitional reader, probable reader). Probable readers may be ready to take a STAR Reading assessment. See the Connect STAR Early Literacy with STAR Reading section on page 33 for more information. Two students are probable readers and may be ready to take a STAR Reading assessment. Estimated Oral Reading Fluency data will be available in fall 2008 for grades

37 Look Ahead

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39 Look Ahead Connect STAR Early Literacy with STAR Reading Next Steps When STAR Early Literacy identifies students as Probable Readers, they likely have the 100-word reading vocabulary necessary to take a STAR Reading assessment. However, also consider your judgment and other determining factors before advancing students to STAR Reading assessments. Remember, when students move on to STAR Reading, they don t have to stop taking STAR Early Literacy assessments. The two assessments often go hand-in-hand in the classroom. For example, you could use both assessments with students if they: Need to have skill weaknesses identified. STAR Reading does not provide diagnostic information, making it difficult to identify skills that students haven t mastered. Are reading, but still need to master early literacy skills. For example, some students might struggle with phonics skills, and have primarily relied on learning words by sight. Identifying and focusing on this early literacy skill gap could help the students succeed on future assessments. Reflect on your testing goals. If necessary, fine-tune or redevelop your goals to make the greatest impact on student learning. Develop lessons to strengthen student skills. After you ve identified which skills to target, develop lessons around those skills that include opportunities for students to practice. Create your own lessons, refer to your curricular materials, or take advantage of Power Lessons developed by Renaissance Learning (examples start on page 54). Connect with parents. Use the Parent Report to facilitate discussions at parent/teacher conferences. A Spanish version of the Parent Report is available in the Renaissance Place edition of STAR Early Literacy. Improve communication with administrators. Refer to reports that align with your testing purpose to help inform decisions about student learning. Talk with other teachers who use STAR Early Literacy. Discuss report interpretation, instructional techniques, or intervention strategies with your colleagues. 33

40 STAR Early Literacy Teacher s Guide Resources Manuals If using the Renaissance Place edition of STAR Early Literacy, click Resources under the STAR Early Literacy tab on the Home page to access the manuals. Desktop edition users can find the manuals in the folder that contains the STAR Early Literacy program on their computers. Software manual. General information about the software, and step-by-step instructions for performing every function. Technical manual. Psychometric information about STAR Early Literacy s development, reliability, and validity. Additional resources in Renaissance Place Click Resources under the STAR Early Literacy tab on the Home page to access the resources listed below. Benchmarks. Guidelines for identifying students who may require special help with developing the early literacy skills assessed by STAR Early Literacy. The benchmarks can also be found on page 51. Definitions. Brief explanation of STAR Early Literacy test scores and other definitions. Software tips. Helpful hints to get you started using the program. Power Lessons Power Lessons help you deliver just the right amount of instruction for a reading skill, and include opportunities for students to practice the featured skill. The appendix includes several Power Lessons for your use. To order complete sets of Power Lessons, visit our website: Online knowledge base Search the Renaissance Learning Knowledge Base on the Web at for technical support information. Other teachers Often, other teachers who use STAR Early Literacy become valuable resources when you re beginning to implement the program. Be sure to identify teachers in your school who use STAR Early Literacy, and consult them if possible. As a group, begin to develop a mentor program or support team for your school. 34

41 Appendix

42

43 Instructions for Common Software Tasks Renaissance Place Version Identify Students User Names and Passwords 1. Click Reports in the STAR Early Literacy task list on the Home page. 2. Under Other Reports, select Student Information. 3. Select options and click View Report. 4. STAR Early Literacy will generate the report. Use the icons above the report to save or print the report. Set Testing Option Preferences 1. Click Preferences in the STAR Early Literacy task list on the Home page. 2. Click Testing Options. 3. Click Once, Never or Always to determine when the demonstration video will be shown to students. 4. Click Until Passed, Never, or Always to determine when the hands-on exercise will be presented to the students before the test. 5. Click Keyboard or Mouse to determine if students will use the keyboard or the mouse to enter test answers. 6. Click Save. Set Monitor Password Preference 1. Click Preferences in the STAR Early Literacy task list on the Home page. 2. Click Testing Password. 3. Check the Monitor box if you want the test monitor to enter a password before a student can start a test. 4. If requiring a password, you can replace the default password with one of your choice. 5. Click Save Selection. Stop a Student Test 1. Press Ctrl+A (Windows) or control+a (Macintosh). 2. Click Yes to confirm stopping the test. 3. Enter the monitor password and click OK. Log in to STAR Early Literacy as a Student and Take a Test 1. On the Welcome page, click Student. 2. Enter a user name and password. 3. Under STAR Early Literacy, click Take a Test. 4. Stop the test by pressing Ctrl+A (Windows) or control+a (Macintosh). View or Print Reports 1. Click Reports in the STAR Early Literacy task list on the Home page. 2. Click the name of the report you wish to view or print. 3. Select options and click View Report. 4. STAR Early Literacy will generate the report. Use the icons above the report to save or print the report. 37

44 Instructions for Common Software Tasks Desktop Version Log in to the STAR Early Literacy Management Application 1. Open the management application. 2. Enter your password and click OK. Identify Students User Names and Passwords 1. Begin at the School screen, and click Reports. 2. Click Student Detail. 3. Click Custom to launch the Report Wizard or Assistant. Be sure to check the Show Password box when completing the Report Wizard or Assistant instructions. 4. Click Finish. 5. Click Preview or Print. Stop a Student Test 1. Press Ctrl+A (Windows) or control+a (Macintosh). 2. Click Yes to confirm stopping the test. 3. Enter the monitor password and click OK. View or Print Reports 1. Begin at the School screen, click Reports, and select a report. 2. Click Custom to launch the Report Wizard or Assistant, and complete the instructions to customize the report. 3. Click Finish. 4. Click Preview or Print. Log in with an administrator password to perform the following tasks. Add Classes 1. Begin at the School screen, and click Classes. 2. Click Add. 3. Enter the class name and password. 4. Click Assign Teacher to assign a teacher to the class. 5. Select a teacher from the list or click New to add a new teacher. 6. Click OK. Add Students 1. Begin at the School screen, and click Students. 2. Click Add. 3. Enter the first and last name, grade, date of birth, and password (other information is optional). 4. Click the Characteristics tab to select optional characteristics. (To add characteristics, go to Preferences, double-click Student Characteristics, and type characteristic names.) 5. Click OK. 38

45 Instructions for Common Software Tasks Enroll Students If enrolling students in your class, you do not need to log in with an administrator password. 1. Begin at the School screen, and click Classes. 2. Select the class in which to enroll students. 3. Click Enroll. 4. Select students to enroll in the class. Click Add >> to add individual students or Add All >> to add all students. 5. Click OK. Set Preference for Monitor Password 1. Begin at the School screen, and click Preferences. 2. Double-click Testing Password to set password preferences. 3. Click OK. Set Preference for Student Answer Input 1. Begin at the School screen, and click Preferences. 2. Double-click Student Answer Input to set preference for mouse or keyboard. 3. Click OK. Set Preference for Pretest Instructions and Keyboard or Mouse Training 1. Begin at the School screen, and click Preferences. 2. Double-click Pretest Instructions and Keyboard or Mouse Training to set preferences. 3. Click OK. 39

46 Student Diagnostic Report Printed June 10, :32 AM School: Oakwood Elementary School Reporting Period: 9/4/2007 6/13/2008 ( School Year) Report Options Group By: Class Sort By: ID Robert Estada ID: ROESTADA Domain Score Range Grade: K Domain Class: Mrs. Rowley s Class General Readiness x Teacher: Rowley, Cheri Graphophonemic Knowledge x Student s Age (yrs): 6.3 Phonemic Awareness x Test Date: 06/09/2008 Comprehension x Scaled Score: 533 Phonics x Literacy Classification: Emergent Reader Vocabulary x Est. ORFa: Structural Analysis x Skill Sets within Each Literacy Domain Skill Score Range Skill Score Range General Readiness Phonics Comparing word length (written) x Matching and recognizing long x Recognizing position words x vowel sounds Differentiating letters x Matching and recognizing short x Differentiating words from letters x vowel sounds Matching numbers and objects x Identifying beginning consonant x Differentiating word pairs x sounds Identifying word boundaries x Identifying ending consonant x Differentiating shapes x sounds Completing sequences x Replacing beginning and ending x consonants Graphophonemic Knowledge Replacing vowels x Matching upper- and lowercase x Identifying medial short vowels x letters Identifying medial long vowels x Recognizing alphabetic x Matching sounds within word x sequence families Naming letters x Identifying consonant blends x Recognizing letter sounds x Identifying consonant digraphs x Using alphabetical order x Substituting consonant sounds x Phonemic Awareness Vocabulary Identifying rhyming words x Matching words and pictures x Blending word parts x Recognizing synonyms x Blending phonemes x Recognizing antonyms x Discriminating beginning and x ending sounds Structural Analysis Comparing word length (oral) x Finding words x Identifying missing sounds x Building words x Comprehension Reading and understanding words Reading and completing sentences Reading and understanding paragraphs x x x Identifying compound words x aest. ORF: Estimated Oral Reading Fluency. Correlation study in progress. No data currently available. 40

47 Score Distribution Report Printed June 10, :20 AM 1 of 1 School: Oakwood Elementary School Reporting Period: 9/4/2007 6/13/2008 ( School Year) Class: Mrs. Rowley s Class Teacher: Rowley, Cheri Domain Scores Domain Score Range Domain General Readiness Graphophonemic Knowledge Phonemic Awareness Comprehension Phonics Vocabulary Structural Analysis Skill Sets within Each Literacy Domain Skill Score Range Skill Score Range General Readiness Phonics Comparing word length (written) Matching and recognizing long Recognizing position words vowel sounds Differentiating letters Matching and recognizing short Differentiating words from letters vowel sounds Matching numbers and objects Identifying beginning consonant Differentiating word pairs sounds Identifying word boundaries Identifying ending consonant Differentiating shapes sounds Completing sequences Replacing beginning and ending consonants Graphophonemic Knowledge Replacing vowels Matching upper- and lowercase Identifying medial short vowels letters Identifying medial long vowels Recognizing alphabetic Matching sounds within word sequence families Naming letters Identifying consonant blends Recognizing letter sounds Identifying consonant digraphs Using alphabetical order Substituting consonant sounds Phonemic Awareness Vocabulary Identifying rhyming words Matching words and pictures Blending word parts Recognizing synonyms Blending phonemes Recognizing antonyms Discriminating beginning and ending sounds Structural Analysis Comparing word length (oral) Finding words Identifying missing sounds Building words Comprehension Reading and understanding words Reading and completing sentences Reading and understanding paragraphs Identifying compound words This report shows the number of students whose scores fall within each Domain or Skill Score Range. 41

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