I have been lucky in my relief teaching so far this term, in that I have been exposed to and involved in a lot of assessment, particularly diagnostic in nature. Today, I expanded my skill set by spending most of the day conducting running records with Year 3 students. I find assessment really fascinating and absolutely relevant to the teaching process.
Today really illuminated to me - almost counter-intuitively - that vast discrepancies can exist between a student's decoding skills and his comprehension skills. I had unconsciously assumed that decoding and comprehension skills tend to be closely aligned, but attending to the inferential, literal and applied comprehension in the running records assessment, it became apparent that this is not the case. And given that the purpose of reading is to obtain meaning from a text, I understand that both are equally important.
Two learnings I took from today are as follows; running records are absolutely crucial to ensuring that effective, differentiated learning is taking place. Secondly, comprehension instruction should be given due weight as one of the five 'keys to reading'.