Reading Age Tests

(34 Posts)
Untrusty Fri 22-Mar-13 10:53:46

Not sure what to think, so posting out here for the wisdom of the crowds.

School have told me DS has a reading age of 7 1/2, which is very behind his age but is about where I think he is, based on the level of books he can read. I think they got that age from a Salford Reading Test. (Which is a sentence reading test)

A dyslexia tutor assessed DS and gave me a reading age of 6. Using a single word reading test. (One I haven't seen before. Not the Burt test)

She said that the sentence reading test gives much higher ages 'cause children guess from context.

Now it doesn't matter whether his reading age is 7.5 or 6. Either way he is a long way behind where he needs to be and is unable to access the curriculum.

Either way he needs an awful lot of extra help to teach him to read.

But I was wondering whether teachers thought a single word test was more or less accurate then a sentence reading test. Or whether a reading age is such a meaningless concept that both test results were correct.

DeWe Fri 22-Mar-13 12:01:08

I suspect 6 and 7.5yo reading age are quite similar, and probably not worht quibbling about.

The problem with the single word, is that it can depend on the child having met a word before.

I think they keep going until they don't know 5 words in a row, and then their reading age is the last word they read. And there's only 5 words a line, and each line represents a reading age.
So if they read words 1-10, 14, 18, 22, 26, 30, 34, 39, 43 and miss out all the other words they get reading age corresponding to the 8th line.
If they can read words 1-20, 26-50 Then they would stop at word 20, and get a reading age corresponding to the 4th line.
If I remember correctly.

I would guess both are a test that's worth doing for an idea of where to start looking, but you would need to do a lot further testing to get a genuine picture.

Startail Fri 22-Mar-13 12:15:37

I prefer single word tests for my dyslexic DD1.
Her comprehension skills are incredible, give her any context at all and she gives a far better impression than is the whole picture.

Startail Fri 22-Mar-13 12:20:54

Cause a huge delay in diagnosis at primary. HT have her a wildlife non fiction book. Given the front cover she knew that lung word was dragon fly and that word was probably insect and looking at the pictures she could guess eggs and lave etc etc.

Utterly hopeless. She got 2b in her KS1 SATs the same way. Multi guess non fiction questions with pictures, honestly.

Dyslexia does not mean dim!!!!!!

Periwinkle007 Fri 22-Mar-13 13:57:03

from what I found in my mum's old teaching stuff I think it is quite common to use both tests. I tried them out on my daughter and she was only a few months apart, the difference of a few words she probably didn't understand so didn't read right.

reading tests can only tell you if a child can read/quickly decode or know some words. it doesn't show if they can understand it so with a young child with a good memory they can give misleading results because they may be able to read the words but not necessarily understand it all. I would assume they can be a bit misleading with an older child who finds reading harder as they may understand better but may find it hard to read the words.

I wouldn't worry too much about the difference between them except to think that perhaps his understanding is better than his sight word knowledge/quick decoding ability.

does this even make sense?

maizieD Fri 22-Mar-13 16:50:56

A word reading test will tell you what words a child is able to read (and this does not necessarily mean words that they 'know', it will include words that they are able to decode). A sentence completion 'reading test' may tell you more about a child's vocabulary than their word reading ability. though at the lower end a low score could be a result of poor word attack skills, poor vocabulary or a combination of the two.

I prefer a word reading test. It tells you more about the gaps that need filling. Without secure word reading skills a child will not progress very far.

/quick decoding ability.

A word reading test is not a fluency test, the child can decode as slowly as they like; what matters is that they can successfully work out what the word 'says'.

Is your son getting any worthwhile support at school with his reading OP?

Untrusty Fri 22-Mar-13 17:03:03

He's getting half an hour a day of RWI Fresh Start. and I think is making progress with that. Which is why I was surprised by by the 6years reading age.

Am just off the phone to a different patoss tutor who also does RWI Fresh Start. I'm thinking of getting 1:1 tuition with her for an hour a week...... Which I hope would complement what school are doing.

He also does stile comprehension every day, which he reads out loud to a class mate.

mrz Fri 22-Mar-13 17:35:26

I've always found single word tests give inflated scores. We use the Salford sentence reading test alongside phonics screening.

Untrusty Fri 22-Mar-13 17:55:37

Well, I certainly hope a reading age of 6 isn't inflated smile

So mrz, you'd trust the Salford reading age?

mrz Fri 22-Mar-13 18:07:09

I don't trust any reading test reading age Untrusty

Untrusty Fri 22-Mar-13 18:31:43

mazie / mrz - Would you hire a tutor who uses RWI? Considering he is already doing RWI at school every day?

I can't think of anything else to do......

I assume RWI done 1:1 with a trained teacher would be more effective than being done in a group.......

Our school did a single word type test and it seemed pretty accurate for my kids, can't comment on sentence based tests though, as far as I know they haven't done any.

mrz Fri 22-Mar-13 19:12:53

I would look for continuity so that whatever is done in school is built upon outside of school.

Periwinkle007 Fri 22-Mar-13 19:37:19

sorry I was assuming they would have to be able to decode relatively quickly as if they were struggling with it then they couldn't do it confidently.

maizieD Fri 22-Mar-13 21:22:52

He's getting half an hour a day of RWI Fresh Start. and I think is making progress with that. Which is why I was surprised by by the 6years reading age.

Like mrz, I wouldn't wholly trust any reading age test; they are just rough guidelines. It is worth remembering that just about all reading age tests have been standardised with children who have been taught 'look & say' methods at worst and 'mixed methods' at best. Under those circumstances the early stages of the tests will particularly favour children who know the 'high frequency words' (commonly taught as 'wholes' to be memorised) which usually preponderate at the start of these tests.. A child who is struggling to learn to read will be the least likely to be able to memorise words as 'wholes' and so may well do badly on the early stages.

If he seems to be doing well on Freshstart I wouldn't worry about that RA of 6. I wouldn't go for a tutor who is doing the same programme (because it is based on workbooks and it would be daft to either duplicate work or be working at a different stage) but certainly go for one who teaches synthetic or linguistic phonics; either method will complement the Freshstart. (I'd strongly advise you not use a tutor who teaches any of the conventional 'dyslexia' programmes, they can be slow and timewasting)

learnandsay Sat 23-Mar-13 07:57:08

If the Burt test was designed to test look & say reading then is it even a guideline with a phonics reading method? Presumably all it tells you is whether or not the children can read the words, not the child's reading age, so it's a kind of decoding test not a reading age check nowadays.

mrz Sat 23-Mar-13 08:37:36

Learnandsay reading tests such as the Burt word reading test and the Salford Sentence Reading test calculate the child's reading age based on the number of words a child is able to read correctly ...so no not a decoding test (it is possible that the child could have been taught all/some of the words by sight) although the ability to decode will certainly play a part in reading the words for most children.

learnandsay Sat 23-Mar-13 09:58:58

Sure, but that wasn't quite what I was getting at. Word reading tests where non related words are set in blocks of ten and the children's ability to read them don't test the child's reading age if the child has been taught to read phonetically because children vastly younger than the resulting age prediction have no trouble reading the words.

mrz Sat 23-Mar-13 14:45:34

How many different reading tests have you used and how many children have you tested learnandsay?

maizieD Sat 23-Mar-13 16:30:37

Do you know how reading tests are developed, L & S?

maizieD Sat 23-Mar-13 16:37:00

BTW, I didn't say that the Burt test was designed to test look & say reading. I said that it was standardised on a population of children who were most likely to have been taught look & say. That is why it has so many 'high frequency words in its initial test items, because most children would have been taught them early when learning to read thus, they would have been the words that the majority of children could read at a certain age. Those words would then go into the test as being words which a child of that age should be able to read.

It is certainly possible that a test standardised on a mostly phonics taught cohort could look quite different.

learnandsay Sat 23-Mar-13 16:51:10

OK, yes right. Are there some which don't use words, maybe alien squiggles or lumps of dried fruit?

mrz Sat 23-Mar-13 17:21:43

There are some that just require a child to guess the missing word in a sentence from a choice of A, B, C. I've actually seem totally non readers achieve age appropriate reading ages by pure fluke.

learnandsay Sat 23-Mar-13 17:26:21

OK, sure, but I did refer upthread to the ones which lay words out in blocks of ten. I've got two such tests.

mrz Sat 23-Mar-13 17:34:36

and do they both give the same results when used?

IME Schonell gives a different RA to Burt which gives a different RA to PiE which gives a different RA to NFER ...

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