I have read both the Daily 5 and CAFE books twice. It seems that I am completely at a loss with one of the main components, the assessment. If I understand things correctly, I am supposed to be conferencing with my students during their Daily 5 work and assessing them on the CAFE system. Based off that assessment, we then set goals, and I go on to the next conference.

What I don’t understand is this assessment piece. I have seen several posts about this or that program that people are using, but I could really use some more information on this please. I have very limited knowledge on the topic of language assessments (we use quarterly tests for fluency/accuracy) which makes all of this even more complicated. Also, I am the only one at my school using this “setup”, so I will probably end up paying for any assessment “program” so please keep that in mind with any recommendations that you might have.

School starts next week and I would like to get some sleep (stressing over this is dangerous for my health!) before then. :slight_smile:

Thanks in advance for your help!






Sorry for the confusion, but never fear–we are here to help you.
What assessments does your school use for reading–such as DRA, Fountas & Pinnell, a computer program? That would be the beginning assessment information to help find the appropriate reading level or which strategies your students need.
ON the CAFE website, there is an area called Assessing Student Learning. Here’s a link to where you can find those assessments:
Just locate the strategy you have decided on for your students, and use the rubric provided, and lesson info if you wish. You might do this before beginning instruction and use the rubric again after you have conferred with your students.
Other assessments would be running records you do with your students and perhaps writing about reading.
Does this help? Don’t hesitate to ask any questions you have.

David Mullins

Thank you for the quick response! We use MAP for math and comprehension in the fall, winter and spring. We use AIMSWeb for our fluency, again, in fall, winter and spring.
I am trying to picture what my conference looks like with my 5th grade student Billy, names have been changed to protect the innocent ;). What is it that I am having him read to assess his Comprehension, Accuracy, Fluency, and Vocabulary? Is he just reading his best fit book and I’m trying to decide what he is lacking in? Do I have some “test” that I am administering for 5 minutes and pulling data from that?
Again, thank you for your help!



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This link is to the suggested conference plan when meeting with your kids. For your 3rd/4th grade students, you would pick a book you have introduced to them–or one you want to introduce. Have students read a page (or few pages, depending on the text), noting what you see them doing and not doing. This will help you decide where to go–what strategies to pick. Notice the time–about 5 minutes. Of course, this depends on the age of your kiddos.
I have it taped to my desk with the important points from the conferring form that reminds me to keep the conferences short and to the point.

David Mullins

Sadly the link you provided has been removed and is no longer available.


I’m so sorry! I found another place to find the information that you can print out. This one works for me, and I hope it works for you :).


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David Mullins

Got it, thank you so much for your help!

Cynthia Kiefer

This is an area of confusion for me too!


Cyndy–What confusions can we help clarify for you? More than happy to help.

Margaret Oevering

Assessments in each school district and school often is different.
In my school district, each school is supposed to standardize the assessments for each grade - meaning if there are 2 or 4 classes of a grade, each class gives the same assessment. What we have done are a couple of different things:

  • one school we used the full count as and pinnell program and had students reading levels throughout all grade 4-6. I often taught my own class only ( since I got fairly similar levelled groups). we rated on the grade level associated with Fountas and pinnell for each grade and where the students level was. WE did no other formal testing - this was formative (for student learning and student, teacher and parent information) and at times evaluative (for marks)
  • another school took our provincial recommended reading assessments and used those three times a year - we used two reading from their each time and some from different states like California to make a fairly comprehensive assessment - for evaluative assessments.
  • I had an old grade 5 assessment (Jerry johns reading inventory) that I gave a half page reading with 10 questions at the beginning of the year to give me a very quick snap shot about what kind of readers I have. it helped me to see quickly, who are really struggling and who I probably will not have to worry about.
    I recommend you consider and think about and talk with other staff at your school, how they do their assessments. THe Daily 5 / or 3 in LA that I did in grade 5 really was formative and gave evidence to say at grade level, below grade level or above grade level. RE-read the conferring and notes and watch the videos and how the sisters have made goals with students, conferred and written their notes. It works. it seems difficult at first to get around different ways of assessing(evaluating). following the daily five with all the anecdotal notes tracks student learning and gives lots of data. Most of all, students spend more time reading and writing so they improve more. You can do it. THe Cafe book and cd have lots of good resources to organize your data.
    some ideas for you to consider,
David Mullins

Thanks for the great information Marg! I’m not sure what Cyndy is stuck on, but it wasn’t so much the “3 times a year” assessment that has been a sticking point, but the weekly “assessment during conferences each week”. I think I’m getting a better handle on it thanks to srea’s responses though.
If I understand what she was saying, we aren’t using any formal assessment tool during conferences, instead we are using our best judgement to determine which of the CAFE items they need to work on and then set goals and determine which strategy they should focus on to help them increase their abilities. Hopefully that is a valid snapshot (in case that is what Cyndy is stuck on!)?
I appreciate the help folks, what a frightening and yet exciting year this is going to be!


Sounds like you’re getting it all clear in your mind. It’s helpful to hear how others have worked through this, isn’t it? That’s one thing I love about being a teacher–always learning and refining our craft!! Wishing you more excitement than frights (but the frights do keep us on our toes :))

Cynthia Kiefer

This is exactly where I was stuck. I viewed the Quick Start Webinar and understand better now. The webinar also suggested the 6543 idea for the CAFE menu.

David Mullins

Would you mind posting the link to the Webinar? Thank you!



Daily 5 and CAFE Quick Start: Prepare and Launch

Daily 5 and CAFE Quick Start: Prepare and Launch Instruction will be by Allison Behne and Gail Boushey. There will be one live Q&A session with Allison Behne and Jessica Hellberg. (also available to participants for viewing later) We're excited to...

Cynthia Kiefer

It is a paid webinar. Go to the website and look for professional development.

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