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The Whole Class Reading Assessment (WCRA) is a reading assessment in Central Okanagan Public Schools for grades 4-9 designed to support differentiated assessment and instruction.  The assessment is required in grades 4 and 7, and optional for grades 5, 6, 8, and 9.  Note: teachers can elect to use PM benchmarks for grade 4 instead of the Whole Class Reading Assessment.

Why Whole Class Reading Assessment:

We can determine where students are at with their reading, where they need to go, and what strategies we can use to help them get there

  • We can provide ongoing descriptive, written, and/or verbal feedback to support deep, meaningful learning

  • We can provide evidence of student learning at the end of a learning cycle

  • We can support differentiated/personalized learning

  • We can seamlessly intertwine with instruction and ongoing classroom assessments as an essential part of effective planning guided by clear performance targets and criteria

  • We can enable students to articulate their learning goals and to make informed decisions about how to progress towards these goals, understand criteria and develop effective self and peer assessment skills


Whole Class Reading Assessment (WCRA) is intended to be a recursive cycle of assessment and instruction.  This assessment should ideally be given early in the fall, as a diagnostic tool to help you plan your reading instruction. You may wish to repeat the assessment up to three times throughout the year.  All specific dates for assessments are determined at the school/classroom level.  This allows educators to be responsive to the needs of the students and the school-based schedule.  For those who elect to use the WCRA, data entry is available to be entered into EdPlan Insight to support educators and schools in making informed decisions around support and instruction.

Administering the Assessment: 

  • This assessment can be administered over the course of 2-3 days depending on the needs of your students. For example:

    • Day 1: Sharing Background Knowledge

    • Day 2: Parts #1-#2

    • Day 3: Parts #3-#5

    • The Oral Running Record may be done anytime after the reading component has begun

  • The Oral Running Record and Oral Reading Assessment Summary Sheet should ideally be given as a diagnostic for all students in the early fall. Teachers do not need to repeat the Oral Running Record and Oral Reading Assessment Summary Sheet for students who are fully meeting or exceeding expectations in oral reading in repeated assessments.

#1 - Purpose:

Say to students: “This reading activity will help me plan my teaching and will help us find out what you need to learn next.  It is important to do your very best.”
#2 - Sharing Background Knowledge:
The teacher will group students by reading selection. This can be done on the same day of the assessment or the day prior.

  • Read the title and the text prompt, exactly as written.

  • Students talk in pairs or triads, sharing their background knowledge. This gives them a chance to recall information or learn from their peers. Teachers do not lead this discussion, but may circulate to encourage sharing. Then follow up with a whole class/group discussion.

  • If you are administering multiple selections at once, coordinate with other teachers or support staff to help provide text prompts and monitor discussions.

  • Keep the sharing to less than 20 minutes.

  • After the text prompt discussion, remind students who have significant background knowledge on a topic to reference the information in THIS text when answering the assessment questions.

#3 - Read questions aloud: 
(Give students the Student Response Sheet or project for students to follow along. Do not distribute reading passages at this time)


  • Prior to students reading the selection, the teacher will read aloud the questions being done that day. Teachers need to discuss the purpose of the “I can tell you more than I wrote” clouds beside each question. Teachers will also discuss the accompanying rubric to clarify expectations.

  • Say to students: “Readers read with a purpose in mind. Let’s read the questions over BEFORE you begin reading, so you know what information you are looking for. You may want to underline or highlight key words in the question to help you give your best possible answer.”

    • “Question #1 is asking you to give the main idea (in your own words) and supporting details from the specified text section.” Be certain students understand this question is not based on the main idea of the entire text, or their background knowledge. Discuss the rubric.

    • “Question #2 is about what you think the underlined word means in this text.” Be certain students understand they are explaining the definition of the word, not just using it in a sentence, or thinking of it as a text feature. (See NYM sample answers). Discuss the rubric.

    • “Question #3 is asking you to make one detailed connection to the text.” Emphasize with students the word OR in the question. The relevancy (or reason for this connection) and details are critical. Discuss the rubric.

    • “Question #4 is asking you to use the information the author has given you about a topic. You will need to use this information and your own thinking to infer, or figure out, this answer.”  Students need to be aware that to answer this question they must explain their thinking using evidence from the text. Discuss the rubric.

    • “Question #5 is asking you to think beyond the text to consider why the author wrote this.” Discuss with students that the answer should be more than “because the author wants us to know about this topic…” Discuss the rubric.\

#4 - Inform Students about the Oral Running Record:

“Once you have read the entire passage to yourself, I will be asking you to read and discuss a small section of the text with me.”

#5 - Read and Answer Questions:

  • Give students the Reading Selection.

  • Students read the entire passage and answer questions thoughtfully.

  • Provide students with highlighters (or tools) to help them process the text.

  • If the reading selection is at their level, most learners will continue independently from this point. Please differentiate the text selection appropriately for learners who will not be successful on grade-level text. Please provide any necessary scribing for students who indicate they need it in the cloud beside each question (or any IEP students who require support with writing), or use technology to assist with recording responses orally.

#6 - Complete Oral Running Record and Oral Reading Assessment Summary:

  • Do Oral Assessment only after students have finished reading the text silently. 

  • Give the students time to settle into their silent reading. The teacher calls the student over to a quiet corner of the room.

  • Use the Oral Running Record to record miscues and the Oral Reading Assessment Summary Sheet to record accuracy, fluency, and strategy use. (for Miscue Analysis, see the following Coding Conventions page) 

Rubrics can be found directly on the Student Response Sheet and are intended for teacher use.

To show growth over time for individual students, teachers may wish to use the Grade (Level) Rubric: Reading for Information, found on page 11 of each reading selection.

Sample answers are provided for each level of assessment. This is not an exhaustive list of answers, but is intended to help guide teachers in their marking. These are comprised of authentic student answers that were collected during the pilot year of 2012-2013.

Collaborative marking sessions are strongly recommended.
Make a copy of the Grade (Level) Planning Sheet for the grade the students are in, even if you have differentiated the texts for some students.

The Grade (Level) Planning Sheet can be used to examine trends across your whole class, small groups, or for individual students.

Keep in mind the questions are hierarchical in terms of the complexity of thinking. If students are struggling with a lower level question, we need to address that skill before addressing the higher level skills.
Instructional Planning may include:

  • Individual

  • Small Group

  • Guided Reading

  • Literature or Information Circles

  • Whole Class

In all settings, the Gradual Release of Responsibility is recommended, and should include: Modeling, Shared Practice, Collaborative Practice, and Independent Practice.
CAUTION:  This is a snapshot only.  Use it as part of your evidence of student achievement in combination with other learning that has been done in the classroom.

September/October:  This is a diagnostic assessment at this time. The intention of the first assessment is to inform the teacher of students’ strengths and areas of concern. Teachers use the results to help guide instruction and conversations with parents.

Follow-Up Assessments:

Assessment for learning: Use the results to plan instruction, based on progress you see in the class and areas that still need work.  Plan may be for whole class, small group or individuals.

Assessment of learning: Count the results as part of the evidence you have of student achievement, only if that particular skill has been taught before the follow-up assessment has been given. This is a chance to see what students can accomplish independently, after a lot of guided practice. 
If the Whole Class Reading Assessment is used as a Summative Assessment, the focus should be on growth over the year. This would be valuable information to be passed on to the next-year’s teacher. 

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