Early Literacy Body of Evidence

To achieve our early literacy goals, Denver Public Schools is committed to monitoring student progress in literacy by ensuring that educators use a body of evidence. On this page, you will find supports for each of the components of a literacy body of evidence:

  • Written Repsonse to Complex Text
  • Standards-Aligned Multiple Choice Assessments
  • READ Act Assessment

For more information, please contact Jeanna Doung.


Literacy Body of Evidence Windows

The Literacy Body of Evidence windows are the same as the READ Act administration windows.


Literacy Body of Evidence: How Does It Support Students?

Reading, writing, and communicating are complex processes, and no single assessment can provide everything we need to know about a student’s literacy progress.  Therefore, in order to gain a holistic perspective of students’ strengths and areas of need in literacy, we must leverage a body of evidence.  By triangulating multiple data points that speak to students’ abilities to meet the demands of grade level standards for reading, writing, and communicating, we can accurately gauge student literacy progress and ensure that instruction is designed to accelerate learning.  Consider opportunities to integrate Literacy Body of Evidence data with Student Learning Objectives (SLOs).


Written Response to Complex Text

Reading a grade-level, complex text and writing in response to that complex text is assessed formally through CMAS beginning in 3rd grade. In order to provide instruction that prepares students for CMAS as well as middle school and beyond, K-5 teachers should give students frequent opportunities to write in response to grade level texts (including K-2 read alouds as well as texts students read themselves).  We recommend that educators analyze weekly curriculum-embedded formative assessments in order to ensure instruction is designed to support all learners as they progress toward proficiency with grade-level texts and standards.

Additionally, in K-2, while students are still building their reading processing systems, it is crucial to monitor foundational skills to ensure students have the tools necessary to read independently with increasingly complex texts. To support with this, please use K-2 Foundational Skills Checks assessments.

Some examples of these assessment include,

  • K-2 Curriculum-Embedded Written Response to Complex Text:
    • Constructed Response Questions
    • End of Unit Writing Task
    • Embedded Checks for Understanding (CFUs) and Exit Tickets
  • 3-5 Curriculum-Embedded Written Response to Complex Text:
    • Module/Unit Assessments
    • Module Performance Tasks
    • Embedded Checks for Understanding (CFUs) and Exit Tickets
  • K-5 Constructed Response Tasks on Interims
  • K-2 Foundational Skills Checks

*These assessments are particularly useful in determining instructional next steps in service of increasing student proficiency with grade level text and task

Standards-Aligned Multiple Choice Assessments

A student’s ability to read grade-level, complex text and respond to standards-aligned multiple choice questions is assessed formally through CMAS beginning in 3rd grade. Analyzing the results of multiple choice assessments can help educators understand whether or not each of their students is able to read and comprehend complex text independently.  In alignment with literacy assessment research, we recommend that text complexity remain at the forefront of analysis of multiple choice assessment data and that educators triangulate this data with other sources of information in order to gain a holistic understanding of student strengths and areas for growth. Examples of these assessments are:

  • K-5 Multiple Choice Interim Assessment Questions
  • 3-5 CMAS-like Questions
  • 3-5 CMAS Assessment


READ Act Assessments

The READ Act is a state law that focuses on K-3 literacy development and includes requirements for assessment, individualized READ Plans for students reading significantly below grade level and specifics around parent communication and involvement.
Learn more about the READ Act: Denver Public Schools  |  Colorado Department of Education

2019-20 Assessment Administration

Fall* Midyear Spring
Grades 1-12: Aug. 19 – Oct. 18, 2019
Kindergarten**: Sep. 3 – Oct. 18, 2019
Grades K-12: Dec. 2, 2019 – Feb. 14, 2020 . Grades K-12: May 1 – May 29, 2020

Deadline for fall READ plan creation/submission: November 15, 2019 (Grades 1-12); December 15, 2018 (Kindergarten)
Deadline for midyear READ plan creation/updates: February 28, 2020 (all grade levels)
Deadline for spring  READ plan updates/Bridge Plan: May 29, 2020 (all grade levels)

*Note that there is not a separate window for verifications. In the fall, K-3 and cohort students must be screened within 30 days. Verifications in the fall and midyear must be completed within the window. Please ensure that you schedule enough time within the window to reasonably complete these activities.
**We will not be accepting scores for kindergartners prior to September 3rd.

Grade 1
Grade 2
Grade 3

Instructional Level Assessments: Running/Reading Records

A running record is a tool that helps a teacher identify patterns of student reading behaviors. These behavior patterns allow a teacher to see what strategies students are using effectively and make informed decisions regarding next steps. Running records allow teachers to:
♦  Observe the reading behaviors students control
♦  Determine the reading behaviors that need to be learned (or further practiced) next
♦  Determine instructional reading level and group students for guided reading
♦  Select appropriate texts for guided reading instruction
♦  Monitor progress
♦  Determine individualized areas of instructional focus

Running Records Resources

Okapi Flying Start Reading Records
Okapi Despegando hacia la lectura Reading Records (Spanish)
DRA2 Progress Monitoring Passages**
EDL2 Progress Monitoring Passages**
Blank Running Record Form: English | Spanish
Running Record Coding Guide: English | Spanish
Scoring a Running Record
Running Records Schoology Course (Access Code:  V4JN3-J42MK)

**Denver Public Schools recommends using this assessment only for monitoring progress, not as a full assessment.