Searching for Culturally Responsive Formative Reading Assessments: Retellings, Comprehension Questions, and Student Interviews

Susan V. Piazza


How do formative reading assessments influence educators’ ability to assess readers’ understandings in culturally responsive ways? This study examines three formative reading assessments to explore the capacity of each measure to fairly represent readers’ understandings without being influenced negatively by social and cultural diversity. The guiding question is “How do these three formative assessments inform and support culturally responsive literacy instruction?” Participants in this study include 10 young adolescent African American male readers. Data collection and analysis took place in a Midwestern urban university in the United States and makes use of a cross case comparison format. Interviews reveal that readers are the best informants regarding their own understandings about texts. Comprehension questions and retellings reveal discrepancies across readers’ understandings. It is crucial that students are given the benefit of responsive assessments in order to accurately demonstrate academic strengths and areas of instructional need.


Reading; Literacy; Assessments; Cultural Responsiveness

Full Text: