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EXAMPLE NARRATIVES

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This set of narrative assessment examples can be used by your teachers and administrators to identify and discuss what is considered to be desired quality attributes of narrative assessment reports at your school. This article includes examples of three narrative reports in different styles: 1. In this example a primary school teacher writes an extensive narrative report about all the core subjects for a single student in one comprehensive narrative. 2. This is an example math report for a middle school student. The same assessment is given in two styles whose impact and effectiveness can be compared. 3. In this example a high school English report is used to paint a thematic picture of a learner illustrating how narrative assessment reports can convey a lot with minimal words.

VIEWING COMMENTS
The annotations associated with these reports are made by article author Carmine Chick Chickadel. Chick identifies noteworthy characteristics of each report and offers some personal opinions. The reports should be used not as examples of right and wrong but rather as tools to prompt discussion. Evaluating and building consensus within your school of the strengths and weaknesses of these examples will help your school solidify its definition of a quality report.

ABOUT CARMINE CHICKADEL, RAVENNA SOLUTIONS


Carmine "Chick" Chickadel has been an educator for over four decades. He is presently an independent school administrator in the Pacific Northwest. His expertise is in educational cultures and philosophies, curriculum design, and teacher training and mentoring. Chick speaks and teaches frequently on the topic of narrative assessments.

ABOUT ORCAS FOR NARRATIVE ASSESSMENT REPORTS


Created by educators on an innovative web-based platform, ORCAS software is a sophisticated, yet affordable solution for student assessment, curriculum management and student registration. ORCAS automates the report card process for schools that use narrative reports, skills checklists, or skills continuums for student assessment.

NARRATIVE ASSESSMENT REPORT WRITING: EXAMPLE 1


Report Format: In this example a classroom teacher who teaches/assesses all cores subjects (reading, writing, math and social science) for a primary grade student writes a single narrative. The teacher writes a paragraph per subject. Within each paragraph the teacher attempts to paint a picture of the child through specific observations then makes clear assessment statements backed up by specific evidence. Skills covered are listed within the narrative rather than in separate skills checklists.

David is an enthusiastic student whose curiosity shows a true love of learning. He delves deeply into his school work and projects, such as finding and emailing an expert to use as a source for his community service report on composting. David is conscientious about completing assignments on time but would benefit from taking more time to make sure all the components of assignments are handed in. For example, he frequently needs to be reminded to include the drafts of his writing assignments in with his final essay. David continues to be reticent at times about finding playmates at recess or free time. However, once involved with others in activities he enjoys the social interaction and is seen as a cooperative player by his classmates. We have been working with David to identify ways in which he can be more proactive initiating playtime activities, such as finding partners to play in some of his favorite activities and being more confident about joining in as students are initiating larger group activities that he enjoys. David demonstrates well-developed reading comprehension skills. He was able to identify plot traits shared among fairy tales from different cultures and did a wonderful job retelling The Peach Boy in his own words. He was an adept participant in our literacy circle discussions and showed his ability to make predictions about content, and relate aspects of our stories to personal experiences. One memorable moment occurred when David supplied the voice of the Dragon in our reading of The Hidden Castle. David truly enjoyed this activity and his enthusiasm was shared by the entire class. This is another example of how his initial reticence to participate in activities can be overcome once he is engaged in his learning and feels confident enough to take some risks. David has shown a strong grasp of grammar concepts. He can identify nouns and action verbs, and is beginning to comprehend adjectives. Writing is another activity David enjoys. The level of effort he puts into each writing assignment is commendable. For his research project on blue whales David used a variety of different sources and utilized our librarys multi-media resources well. The fairy tale he created about the timid troll showed a potent imagination and the storys characters were well developed. He used adjectives obtained from a thesaurus to enrich his story. The timid trolls scary exploration under the bridge showed an impressive use of suspenseful writing that exemplifies Davids ability to incorporate high-level skills into his writing. Davids spelling is an area where he is showing some improvement, though he would benefit from taking more time to proofread and

Comment [O1]: Teacher does a good job of painting a vivid picture of David as a learner.

Comment [O2]: Clear assessment statements are followed by examples.

Comment [O3]: Specific prescriptive actions are documented.

Comment [O4]: Real-life antidotes add richness to assessments.

Comment [O5]: Skills list.

Comment [O6]: Again, consistent pattern of clear assessment statements, supporting evidence/examples, and prescriptive actions where necessary.

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use the dictionary. He has a well-developed vocabulary, and is beginning to use self-correction strategies with his own writing. Davids cursive skills are solid and he has shown advanced keyboarding skills. David has shown a mastery of math concepts covered this semester. He is working toward proficiency with his math facts (including addition/subtraction patterns, and multiplication up to 10). His unit test average is 94%. David has illustrated the ability to comprehend advanced math topics that involve reasoning and problem solving skills yet shows inconsistent mastery of topics involving memorization of facts. Davids lowest test score came from his units conversion test while his highest came from his word problem test. We have been working on identifying memorization techniques (through game play, for example) and David is developing an understanding that knowing math facts provides the foundation for learning more complex math topics. In social science David dived into his community project working well with his teammates to develop a presentation on their local neighborhood. He was a quiet but effective leader in the group but was also a cooperative team member. In the teams self assessment of their final project David said We did a good job because everyone worked hard. Davids enthusiasm for the project motivated the entire group to put in an excellent effort. The mobile David created for his teams report was exceptionally creative and informative. He placed himself at the center as he would place himself in the center of his community. He then hung items on the mobile that represented the broader communities of which he is apart. In conjunction with the community project David sharpened his mapping, data gathering, research and verbal presentation skills. For the science portion of the community project David worked with the group studying the value of composting. The entire class benefited from the worm bin information sent to David after he reached out to a local environmentalist through email. This extra effort is one of many examples of Davids exuberance for his work. David has shown considerable growth throughout this school year. Although reserved at times he is one to observe first, consider his options, and then dive in with enthusiasm. As a learner he consistently shows that once engaged he can produce exception quality work and exhibit advanced critical thinking skills.
Comment [O7]: The teachers language in the math assessment is not as joyful as that for other subjects. Perhaps the teacher is less comfortable with the math subject. Comment [O8]: Example provides insight into Davids learning profile in math.

Comment [O9]: Again, descriptive words paint a picture of David. Comment [O10]: Using a students own words can be a valuable technique in assessments Comment [O11]: Good example that shows higher critical thinking skills.

Comment [O12]: Nice bookending of the same example in the beginning and end of the report.

Comment [O13]: The reader has a solid understanding of the type of student David is and his strengths and weaknesses.

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NARRATIVE ASSESSMENT REPORT WRITING: EXAMPLE 2


Report Format: In this report a student receives a report written by each subject teacher. The teacher writes a class description that is included for all students in the class followed by individual narrative comments for each student. The same assessment is given in two examples whose impact and effectiveness can be compared.

VERSION 1
Class Description In Pre-algebra this term we covered Variables, Expression, Integers, Factors, Exponents, Rational Numbers, Probability and Percents. Students are given daily homework assignments Monday through Wednesday. Some in class time is spent going over homework questions but students are expected to self-correct their homework assignments and bring up questions for discussion in class time. Every Thursday students are given time to review for our Friday quiz. For those students who feel they have mastered the material I distribute a POW on Thursdays that can be submitted for extra credit on Fridays. Comments: Michelle has had a very good semester. She has is showing a solid mastery of the material but could benefit from slowing down and focusing on making fewer mistakes. Her homework assignments are neat and she appears to be keeping up with her word (I empower my students to monitor their own homework success through self scoring and correction). Her quiz average is 92% and she received an 83% on her semester exam. If Michelle put a little bit more time into review prior to her tests I think she could bring that grade up! Michelle is a good class participator and it was a pleasure having her in my class! Grade: B+

Comment [O14]: Classroom schedule should not be a part of assessment this information is needed by student and family at the start of the term. Comment [O15]: Teacher assumes reader knows what a POW is.

Comment [O16]: Good and Strong are two words that should be used sparingly as they frequently provide little meaning. Comment [O17]: Is a B+ mastery at your school? Every schools should have agreement on the definition. Comment [O18]: Typo that passes spell check! Comment [O19]: Repeat of information given in class description.

VERSION 2
Class Description Our math program focuses on engaging students in understanding the fundamental concepts of the math topics first and foremost and then applying those concepts in a variety of different ways including teacher-directed learning, math projects, cooperative group activities, and reinforcement of skills learned through homework. In Pre-algebra this term we covered Variables, Expression, Integers, Factors, Exponents, Rational Numbers, Probability and Percents. Students who feel they have mastered topics are provided with a Problem of the Week (POW) that challenges them to reach a higher-level understanding of the math topic covered. Students are assessed through weekly quizzes that measure understanding of the weekly topic (75%) as well as an end-of-term exam that calls for students to integrate the math topics learned (25%). Comments: Michelle displays a strong number sense and is an active, enthusiastic, participant in our group math activities. She particularly enjoys our Mental Math showdowns where she gets to work with teammates

Comment [O20]: Be cautious using predictive language. Comment [O21]: Clich ending Comment [O22]: Articulation of curricular program has value if outside audiences (e.g., other schools) will be reading reports.

Comment [O23]: Acronym is defined for reader. Purpose of POW is included. Comment [O24]: Specific information on how the assessment is made and grade is determined is included. Comment [O25]: Descriptive language helps paint a picture of Michelle as a learner. Comment [O26]: Example support statements.

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5 to talk through the answers to complex problems. She has had a successful semester keeping up with homework assignments, and always taking care to show her work in a neat and organized manner. Her weekly quiz average is 92% indicating a solid mastery of topics; however, her deductions were usually the result of careless errors that could be reduced if Michelle took the time to recheck her work. On her semester exam Michelle scored 83%. This is a solid score but Michelle has expressed the desire to improve her score in the next exam. We have discussed review strategies to try out next semester and the class will develop a review schedule prior to the exam. I have also encouraged Michelle to attempt the POW more frequently as that will help her achieve a higher level of mastery of the math skills covered. Michelle is an energizing participant in our math class and we all value her presence in our class! Grade: B+

Comment [O27]: Includes Michelles own goal. Comment [O28]: Specific prescriptive information to help Michelle meet her goals Comment [O29]: Concluding statement a bit more personalized and is consistent with statements made in assessment. This is less clich then it was a pleasure.

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NARRATIVE ASSESSMENT REPORT WRITING: EXAMPLE 3


Report Format: In this high school English report the teacher presents a thematic portrait of the student giving an impactful description of that students learning personality.

Always the observer, Juliana sits in the back of the classroom. She rarely raises her hand but will respond if called upon to do so. She is never late with an assignment, never flustered by a new task, never distracted from her mission to write, to write well and to write often. Her strongest suit is creative non-fiction. She is articulate, using her mature vocabulary and syntax to capture the small moments in her day or the snapshot of a human interaction that lasts no more than a few seconds. Her attention to detail is precise as is her use of descriptors. She drives each sentence with a strong verb and avoids over embellishment. In a recent essay about Sunday dinner at her grandmothers house, she describes entering the familiar dining room: The oval wooden frame of my great-grandparents wedding picture gleamed in the streaming sunlight. They werent smiling in the portrait, so unlike my Nanna and Grandpop who both have the crease lines of constant mirth. In two sentences she brings us up to date with family history and her take on the world. Juliana is an effective analytical writer, as well. She orders her ideas to make the best of evidence and the standing premise of each paragraph. Her theses are based in evidence and she is direct and succinct as she draws conclusions. She has set an interesting goal for herself recently. She writes, I want my work to be strange and wonderful and to bring the reader on a powerful journey to the destination I envision. So, Juliana, you are on the way to that end, keep up the good work, stay focused on the elements of each phrase, sentence, and paragraph. The story is in the details, but you already know that.

Comment [O30]: The first paragraph establishes the students learning theme. The reader can visualize her as an engaged, yet somewhat passive observer. Consider what a parent, teacher, or admission director, learns about this student from the description beyond what can be gained from a letter grade. Comment [O31]: Generalized description of strength is followed by specific skills.

Comment [O32]: Example provides clear summation of students ability using few words.

Comment [O33]: Personalized ending provides affirmation of students own goals.

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