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What is "reading age" and how is it calculated?

(11 Posts)
Quattrocento Sat 23-Jun-07 16:50:15

My DS's school report appeared on Friday and in English there is a figure quoted about his reading age. It never appeared on his older sister's reports so it is a new one for us.

THe reason I ask is that his reading age simply does not correlate with our experience of his reading, and I think the school may have made a mistake. But before asking them about it, I'd really appreciate a bit of background.

Thanks all (am out now for a couple of hours)

TheApprentice Sat 23-Jun-07 16:56:26

hi. I'm a teacher. You are right not to trust reading ages! They are calculated in different ways depending on the test used - there are several different ones.

One popular test whose name I forget requires the children to read various words in rows and once they get 3 wrong in a row they have to stop and the reading age is calculated from that.

Other tests are not quite so crude, but most don't test the comprehension level of the child at all, which as you know is a crucial part of learning to read. So often a child could be a level 3 reader in their Yr2 SATS, but come out poorly in a reading age test, because he/she generally uses the context of a piece of writing to help decode unknown words.

I wouldn't get too hung up on it.

ahundredtimes Sat 23-Jun-07 16:56:39

I think they assess the understanding and ability to read different words, which are in turn categorised into levels, and then they halve it if the child reads Enid Blyton.

Sorry Quatt, I have no idea how they do it. Am bumping for a teacher type to come and elucidate.

ahundredtimes Sat 23-Jun-07 16:57:50

ooh she has. Sorry.

SofiaAmes Sat 23-Jun-07 17:03:55

TheApprentice, how shocking. It sounds like a pretty useless way of testing reading ability. My ds (6.5) is obsessed with reading labels and instructions and directions and can read all the large words in context (like carbohydrates and cholesterol), but I suspect that he wouldn't recognize them or pronounce them readily out of context.

At ds' school here in California, they measure their reading by speed. I don't know quite how they account for words that they stumble over, but I think they mainly give them age appropriate books without too many big words and then measure all the kids with the same book. I suppose that has its issues as well.

In general it is probably mostly a tool for standardizing education and in general, go with you instinct about how well your child is reading.

Ladymuck Sat 23-Jun-07 17:27:51

Ds1 recently had a reading test which included a comprehension exercise, and some other test which was timed. No idea as to whether this will all translate into a reading age,though I suspect so because all the children are tracked twice a year.

Quattrocento Sat 23-Jun-07 22:06:50

Thank you all.

Interesting that all children are tracked twice a year! This is the first I've heard of it. Probably we have rights of access to the data but why is it not shared, I wonder?

Thanks for comment about the different sorts of test. Very useful. I sort of wondered whether there was a standard SAT type test.

Lovely to see you 100x (nearly said Hun but was not feeling quite daring enough).

Ladymuck Sun 24-Jun-07 10:25:24

Well I know that that is the case at the dcs school - at parents evening the teacher was armed with a report on the class for reading ages, and it was clear that there was a standaerd test twice a year. It also made the exercise slightly more fruitful as you could see relative progress between the periods rather than just getting an absolute number.

ShinyNewShoes Mon 25-Jun-07 11:03:29

The reading tests used in schools vary enormously, and tbh some of them are ancient and very basic! Lots of schools still use the 'Salford' test, which is a set of sentences of increasing complexity that the child reads, and they're stopped after they make x number of mistakes and the teacher calculates the score. It could be worse, but it is basic and doesn't include any measure of reading comprehension skills. Also do remember that any reading test is a snapshot of the child at that time on that day, and all sorts of things can influence their performance (tired, hungry, desperate to finish it and do PE etc etc!)

kookaburra Mon 25-Jun-07 13:29:23

Why w

kookaburra Mon 25-Jun-07 13:29:43

sorry - wrong thread!

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