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Reading assessment

Discussion in 'Primary' started by elizabeth1972, Jan 16, 2011.

  1. We use the Salford reading tests, which give a reading-age score for each pupil. This can then be compard to their chronological age.
    We use the old version of the tests, which are really dry and uninspiring to read. It's purely summative in that, at the end of a period of time, it gives a "weighing the pig" sort of result. The results could be used formatively, if the person administering the test picked up, for example, that some children seem to be "missing" one grapheme or phoneme, and that then fed into planning. However, in my school the test is done by the TAs, and the results are only used to fill plastic wallets in ever-growing assessment files.
    Standardised tests are either the end of Key Stage SATS or optional SATS for the years in between. Reading is tested via a written outcome (!) : children read some information / a story etc and then answer questions on it, by providing written responses. Results are then able to give age-standardised scores.
    Hope this helps a bit!

  2. As far as I'm aware, all summative tests are standardized, because you are assessing all children against the same criteria or standards (if it's criterion referenced, like the QCA tests which produce levels).
    There are loads of reading assessments - and none of them assess 'reading' because reading ability is a wide collection of skills: comprehension of facts, comprehension of main ideas, vocabulary, phonics, inference, fluency.
    As well as Salford, there's Suffolk, Edinburgh, Schonell...and a whole load more.
  3. Msz

    Msz Established commenter

    some assess word reading some sentence reading some comprehension ...
  4. Standardised tests could be much more useful if schools used the 'same' test so that results can be compared from school to school.
    Also, it is important for schools to continue with old standardised tests if they want to look at results year on year.
    If using 'old' tests, you must take them with a pinch of salt in terms of their standardised reading ages as the standardisation would have been undertaken in different eras and may not, in a sense, be up-to-date in terms of modern standards.
    I like to use the old Burt word reading test for several reasons. One reason is because I know of some schools where long term studies have been undertaken and what results they achieved with the Burt for word reading. This allows me to get a rough idea of 'how', for example, children are reading by the end of Reception compared to the study schools.
    It is available free of charge on the internet, so it is readily available as a handy tool in the kit!
    I use it to get a raw score (and a very approximate reading age compared to chronological age) to compare with other results or previous results for the same pupil.
    I can make quick notes at the time of 'what' the pupil read and analyse the type of errors the pupil is making for word-reading.
    For example, a more whole word reader (sight-taught) may read fluently for a while and then there is often an abrupt cut-off point where the reader simply doesn't 'know' the word already, and has no skills or wherewithal to attempt to read new and unknown words - even if the words are relatively easy. The pupil either knows it, or doesn't. It's cut and dried. This demonstrates the dangers of whole word reading through set reading books for example.
    There are other children who may attempt some sounding out for the first part of the word and then take a wild guess for the remainder of the word. In other words, these are a combination of phonics + guessing readers - and this is often a consequence of weak phonics teaching and 'range of strategies' teaching where children are taken through reading book after reading book. If children demonstrate no capacity to blend through the whole word, they either haven't been taught well enough to do this - or they do not have enough 'alphabetic code knowledge' to fearlessly attempt the whole word.
    Sometimes very able readers do this because in the infants they may have been quite competent with a range of multi-cueing reading strategies which get them through their reading books - which leave them with weak skills when it comes to applying code knowledge and blending. Often such children have good oral vocabularies so that their personal reading technique has always been heavily supported by their grasp of spoken language and rich vocabularies.
    Sometimes great blenders read very tricky words which are new to them and get them correct except for the stress in the word. This is a difficult one re 'marking' because they really could read the word technically but the word simply isn't in their oral vocabularies and experience to enable them to put the correct stress on the word. I suppose these must be marked 'wrong' but in some ways they shouldn't be. So, the final mark for the test may not reveal the exceptional 'decoding' skills of the pupil.
    That is why I like to use the tests for analysis and not just the actual score.
    If we then compare results from school to school, as different people have marked the tests in different settings, we can never really be 100% sure of what tests reveal - even when standardised. They can only build up a picture.
    The best we can do is to provide teachers and teaching assistants with some professional development courses on types of reading test and the way that people can analyse them differently. We have already got a thread started about miscue analysis where I pointed out that the running record can be marked the same by any teacher, but the teacher's 'understanding' will lead to him or her analysing the pupil's results completely differently - the synthetic phonics teacher being horrified by lots of guessing words and inaccurate reading, whilst the whole language or mixed methods teacher looking for evidence of the pupil employing a range of reading strategies and maybe believing it is OK to make guesses as long as the overall sense of the text is achieved.
  5. Great summary from Debbie, which I agree with completely except for this minor quibble:
    Some of the old tests are very dated (eg they use very old-fashioned sentence structures or vocabulary/grammar that most children are no longer familiar with) - eg the old version of the Suffolk test - the 'new' version (2002) has had most of the worst bits replaced, and also has a conversion chart so you can link between the old results and the new ones.
  6. Hi
    We use the assessment tool called PM Benchmark. It covers reading, comprehension (at lower levels) and inference (at higher levels). It is completed orally so a child doesn't have to be a good writer to gain good marks.
    I haven't got it with me, but it can also give you a reading age after a certain point.
    The children have to read an unseen text and you mark a sheet, (almost the same as a miscue analysis for sats). The children then have to answer questions related to the text.
    Hope this is helpful
  7. Aren't you contradicting yourself here?
  8. MrsAinTheDen

    MrsAinTheDen New commenter

    I work with permanently excluded Y9,10 and 11, some of who have very low reading ages.
    I am looking for stuff that I can assess reading without them having to endure the indignity of Biff n Chip. This is quite new (assessing much older pupils with very low reading ages) and wondered if anyone knew of reading material that they would be interested in but is written with lower ability in mind. I have heard about the Salford reading test but as I have not seen it, I am loathe to spend money on it if it is going to be turned down from the outset by the kids.

    Any suggestions welcome

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