Our district uses a writing portfolio as a final assessment rather then the traditional pen and paper test for our 8th grade students. We have been using this form of assessment for several years. It is a document that continues to evolve. While we are happy with the way this document assesses our students' writing ability, we are not quite sure it assesses their work in reading or using reading strategies. Does anyone have any suggestions?

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When I taught in a middle school in the city, we were developing a writing portfolio form of assessment. It was a tough go, because we had just made a major jump into using rubrics for assessing writing and then wanted to use that as a way to assess their overall progress through the year. We used the citywide or state test as a basis for the reading assessment. That alone was the contributing factor to student success in reading. If they scored a one or a two, then running records were required to determine their placement in summer school or not.

I wonder if the district feels that the continual "record" of reading ability from the state assessments fills this void.

I didn't really answer your question very well....but...
So I guess your school used the portfolio as an assessment for writing only and used a separate assessment for reading?
That was the main focus. Before the state exams went 3-8, the city tested reading with citywide mulitple choice exams. This was considered the definitive reading assessment for the 3, 5, 6, and 7th graders. The writing portfolio was used to supplement an ELA grade and overall scope for those years that were lacking a writing part of the test.

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