By Justin Tedaldi, Senior Director of Partnerships, Newsela
Educators know that classes are filled with readers at many different levels. With this in mind, each Newsela article is instructionalised to be readable at five different levels, based on text complexity as measured by Lexile. This allows all students in a class to read the same content, which enables teachers to more effectively structure classroom learning. After students read, teachers need a way to quickly and reliably assess students’ comprehension so that they can decide where to focus discussion on passages in the text that may need further explanation or re-reading. Conversations and writing samples both work well, and as a complement to these, a simple multiple-choice quiz is an efficient, effective way to quickly gauge understanding.
Each article on Newsela has an associated quiz at each of its five levels, with each question aligned to a single Common Core English Language Arts (ELA) Anchor Reading Standard. Across the five levels, the quiz-standard alignment remains the same, with each quiz covering the same two anchor standards (e.g., “identifying central idea” or “what the text says”). This low-stakes formative assessment shows school administrators that the content is delivered at an appropriate reading level, and saves teachers time in creating and aligning questions. Additionally, quizzes provide students practice with academic tasks and concepts, including describing cause and effect, interpreting and making connections between ideas, expressing and supporting opinions, vocabulary in context, sentence structure, and more.
Nearly 17 million students have taken at least one quiz on Newsela, and more than 150 million quizzes have been taken to date. The vast majority of quizzes (70 per cent) have been taken by students in grades 5-8.
The Learning Science of Quizzes
When students take quizzes on articles at their reading level, they should experience more success. When students experience success, in turn, they often feel more competent and have higher self-efficacy. In other words, students get completely absorbed in a task when the work feels “just right”. In this way, quizzes serve to create that feedback loop by enabling teachers and students to calibrate the level of the text to the student’s reading level.
You can use Newsela ELA quizzes to: Provide personalized and targeted instruction to students using ongoing quiz scores, prompt engaging, meaningful discussions using quiz questions as a starting point, and encourage collaboration amongst students as they evaluate and review quiz questions.
A Senior Director of Partnerships, Justin Tedaldi has been with Newsela since 2015, working to provide meaningful instructional content for all students. Prior to that, he served as a specialist for education technology solutions for Apple, and business development manager of US operations for Benesse Corporation.
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