I feel your pain. My former school was like this, and it made it made grading difficult at times. However, how many grades are you required to record each week? If it is 2, like many school districts, then using the workshop method is very much possible. In my school, for example, our principal suggested more traditional assessments for warm-up. Eg- A short passage with questions on sequencing. This doesn't take up much class time at all, and can be completed with ease.
Also, you may want to look into rubrics. I mentioned Revisiting the Reader's Workshop in my post. This allows you to take your observations and turn it into a percentage. The rubric, I believe, is made up of 55 possible points. Last year I shot for one traditional assessment and one alternative assessment (eg- rubric on their reading letter to me) each week.
And finally, I think we just need to take a stand as educators with this crazy pressure cooker on assessment in general. Some skills need time to develop, so I am careful about teaching something and turning around and assessing it two seconds later. That can be hard at times, but I believe the workshop approach is a fair way to assess students' growth as readers and writers.
Sign up today for free teaching ideas, lesson plans, online activities, tips for your classroom, and much more.
Choose your grade range:
See a sample >