Reading age tests....why?

(39 Posts)
seeker Fri 10-Apr-09 08:45:03

My friend has just emailed me a copy of the reading age test used in her ds's private school, and I am amazed that it is simply a list of increasingly difficult words - just decoding and nothing about knowing what the words mean? And some of the words are very obscure. What's the point of that?

I will, of course, get ds to do it, and if he does well I will tell my friend - if he doesn't I will send a carefully crafted email about what a pointless test it is grin but I am genuinely interested. What was the thinking behind this sort of test and are they still widely used? I don't think they do anything like this at ds's school - or if they do no-one's told me!

ItsMargotBeaurEGGarde Fri 10-Apr-09 08:47:51

My son is bound to be one of the ones who fails that test, and hopefully, as direct consequence of failing it, then be in line for some extra help???

(although he won't be at a private school!)

seeker Fri 10-Apr-09 08:55:53

It's not a pass/fail thing - it just arbitrarily says that this age you should be able to decode this word. I'll link to it if you think it will help at all.

hotcrosspurepurple Fri 10-Apr-09 08:59:34

but reading is about more than being able to "read" a word
surely comprehension is more important?
please link to it
I had a reading age of 18 at 11, I would love to see how badly I do on this one grin

HumphreyCobbler Fri 10-Apr-09 09:00:40

The one they were still using in my school was a contextual one but was so old fashioned one of the correct options was

The parcel was tied up with STRING

Used to confuse the hell out of year two children who would look for the sellotape option.

CompareTheMeerkat Fri 10-Apr-09 09:01:29

I remember a reading test like that when I was at school.

seeker Fri 10-Apr-09 09:06:32

OK, on condition that it's for adult use only,

here with instructions. My friend just sent me the list of words. It doesn't make any more sense to me with the instruction, to be honest.

hotcrosspurepurple Fri 10-Apr-09 09:12:04

I was ok until I got to this one

what on earth does that mean and how do you pronounce it? (without covering my keyboard in spit)

seeker Fri 10-Apr-09 09:22:23

Don't know how to say it but it means getting smaller or something like that. I think!

hotcrosspurepurple Fri 10-Apr-09 09:29:23

mr google comes to the rescue
apparently it is also an old name for TB

blametheparents Fri 10-Apr-09 09:34:38

Just had a quick look, and wondered if Burt Reading Test (1974) means that this was created in 1974, or has it been updated since? I would have thought teaching practices etc. have moved on since then, and that this test is just meaningless.
I agree that reading a word means nothng if you don't know what it means, or how to use it. DS is a pretty good reader, he is 7 years old, but sometimes I stop him when he is reading and ask him what something means, and he doesn't know.

CompareTheMeerkat Fri 10-Apr-09 10:27:17

I#m sure that's the test I did at school smile

seeker Fri 10-Apr-09 10:39:27

I know. I actually checked with my friend when I saw the 1974 on the test, but it's definitely the one they are using. And she's paying megabucks for it!

CompareTheMeerkat Fri 10-Apr-09 10:40:37

I did the test a bit later than 1974 (seem to remember doing it in juniors between 1983 and 1987) but it definitely looks familiar.

edam Fri 10-Apr-09 10:43:34

I had a reading age that was always way ahead of my chronological age. Big deal - by the time you get to adulthood everyone else can read to adult standards too (unless they have specific problems).

No idea what ds's is, school hasn't checked (or told me if they have). I'm happy that he's enjoying books and seems to be doing very well, don't really need someone to tell me his reading age.

islandofsodor Fri 10-Apr-09 10:46:30

Burt reading test is still in use but generally just for teacher's information only.

cornsilk Fri 10-Apr-09 10:47:24

There are different types of reading tests which assess different aspects of reading ability. Single word reading tests assess a child's ability to decode unrelated words. There are also comprehension and reading speed tests. Are you sure the school doesn't assess this seperately?

cornsilk Fri 10-Apr-09 10:48:06

Or even separately blush

seeker Fri 10-Apr-09 10:56:46

It is possible that they do another one as well and she sent me the one that her ds did brilliantly at grin!

cornsilk Fri 10-Apr-09 11:13:17

Ha ha probably!

christywhisty Fri 10-Apr-09 12:24:52

I remember doing the Burt test at primary in 1972 (when I was YR5) and probably prior to that as well, although I always remember the last word as Bibliography.
I am sure they did it at my dc's primary as well.
I would have thought it gives a part of a picture of a child's reading abilities. I had a tutor in for a month to teach ds how to do NVR and she did a "reading experience" test which was fill in the missing word.

roisin Fri 10-Apr-09 13:25:52

Seeker, reading age tests are used extensively in schools, largely because they can be administered by a relatively untrained/inexperienced (cheap) member of staff. They do give some broad brushstrokes information, but not a great deal.

It's not unusual for a 7 yr-old to have an RA of 14, but it doesn't mean a great deal. If they've been taught phonics well and are able to do accurate phonetic decoding, they will score highly.

We now use in school (secondary) a test which gives an age for reading comprehension. It's administered to a whole class at a time, and then marked separately. The responses are multi-choice.

We live in an area of high deprivation. One of the major difficulties we face is many students have very small vocabularies (active and passive), and it's difficult for them to access the curriculum. The Reading Comprehension Test gives us a way of monitoring this.

EachPAQUESPearMum Fri 10-Apr-09 14:21:17

Heheh- we did one of a similar style in school... this is how I had a reading age of 16 when I was 7 wink

Ours had adamant, recind, cannot remember what else... I think it was Edinburgh reading test.

Mine was a very poor bog-standard state school.

snorkle Fri 10-Apr-09 14:36:44

seeker, the really daft thing is that they sometimes use the same test a few terms later to measure improvement. Of course a child remembers the words from the last time, so of course they improve!

piscesmoon Fri 10-Apr-09 14:39:01

They are used in most schools but they are not something that would be told to the parent because, as you say, they are meaningless by themselves-a ten year old may well have a reading age of 14yrs but it isn't any good if they are just decoding and don't have the comprehension to go with it. I see them as good diagnostic tests. For example if the reading age is low, they need extra help. Sometimes problems don't show up normally. I remember one 9 yr old who performed reasonably well in the classroom but it became clear in the test that she had no tools to help her when she came a difficult word and consequently she wasn't enjoying reading because, when reading to herself, she missed out any words that she didn't understand and in some cases lost the plot. She was quite a bright girl-we spent time on a one to one basis looking at how to break up long words and it didn't take her long to get confident-previously she had looked at the word, taken fright and left it!

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