Yogi Berra – “You can observe a lot by just watching.”
One of my big themes is that in the assessment world there is an overplaying of quantitative data. There is too much “Well, the student is in the ‘average range’,” and therefore gets no service or support.
Young Isabelle, age 17, is a good example. Smart and hardworking, Isabelle has gotten good grades all of her life. She can take tests pretty well and tends to score at least in an average range or better on most tests.
Yet, I think Isabelle has a reading disability (dyslexia) based on observations of her performance, even though her scores will not get anyone too excited.
Using Yogi Berra as my touchstone, I observed a lot by watching. For example, at the 8th grade level on an informal passage here are a couple of lines translated as close as possible to how Isabelle read the material:
(The story was about a Chinese warrior named Chang.)
Text: “Chang, seemed devoid of emotion…”
Isabelle: Chang seemed devoted of emotion…”
Text: The battle that day provided a legacy…
Isabelle: The battle that day proved…”
Text: “The army pinched in from the right…”
Isabelle: “The army pitched in from the right…”
From the fourth grade forward, 99% of reading that takes place is done silently. Unless one listened to Isabelle read the 8th grade selection one would have no idea of the tedious, laborious way that she read the selection.
Oh, I forgot to tell you that Isabelle comprehended the selection pretty well – her score fell in an “average” range.
It’s more than the scores.