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Reading age tests - what's their purpose / how do teachers use the results?

(9 Posts)
pochemuchka2 Thu 06-Feb-14 21:32:46

I am referring to a sentence reading test, not a single word reading test, nor one that tests comprehension (possibly Salfords?).

DD's teacher advised it shows progress, but doesn't moving up the book bands, and responses to comprehension questions do that just as well, if not better. Is there any advantage, benefit, use, to this type of test?

Also if there are no comprehension questions, shouldn't they be called decoding tests?

Sorry, I know it's dull, but I just want to know if I've missed a sound reason for bothering with this sort of test!

youhavetogothroughit Fri 07-Feb-14 10:42:34

Well, I am no expert but DS has been tested on these types of tests a few times (at least 4 times that I know of!). One of these tests, the Suffolk reading scale, does link directly to NC levels and certainly where SiL teaches (at a state school in suffolk coincidentally) they are used for NC levels in KS1 and KS2, with a high degree of accuracy, according to her.

DS is tested annually on a new NFER/GL test which uses these sentence type questions to guage reading age and then this determines appropriate texts and questions to assess comprehension and NC level.

So, to answer your question, these sentence completion questions do give a fairly good idea of comprehension, they draw on inference skills and are not about just decoding. The sentences have to make sense!

pochemuchka2 Fri 07-Feb-14 16:21:01

Thank you Youhaveto. DDs test was just reading sentences, not completing sentences that are questions. What you describe clearly tests comprehension as you won't get the correct answer if you don't understand what you've read.

I think the answer, from another thread, is that these decoding tests give an accurate decoding age, and that, used in conjunction with other assessments for comprehension are useful for ensuring DC are accurately levelled.

Although if anyone else has a view on this I'd love to hear from you!

Fuzzymum1 Fri 07-Feb-14 21:07:42

We used them for selected children - testing before and after a ten week intervention program so we were able to demonstrate the progress the intervention was helping the children to make.

cazzybabs Fri 07-Feb-14 21:10:37

yes it is decoding tests ... we haven't found a good reading test for little uns ... but is just used (in my school) as measure of progress ... but against other sorts namely teacher judgements. We mainly use it simply to compare children

RiversideMum Sat 08-Feb-14 07:39:21

We use Salford in our school. It is very unrealiable for early readers, even though it has been revamped in the past few years. It works like this: children read the sentences ... mistakes are noted (some words are excluded) ... once they have made a certain number of mistakes, they are asked to stop ... from this you work out a reading age ... the reading age falls into a book band (we use colour bands in our school). It think it has an upper age limit, because we also use single word tests with our juniors. You can use it to show progress from term to term. Different reading age tests are not comparable with one another.

pochemuchka2 Sat 08-Feb-14 08:39:32

Thank you everyone!

Riverside, that sounds like the test DD described. If the reading age given is 9 years and 5 months I presume this has moved out of the unrelible phase you mentioned for early readers? Do you know what book band this age is linked to?

I don't really understand how a decoding test can be used alone to choose a book band unless comprehension exactly matches decoding age - do you test for comprehension separately?

lalasmum17 Sat 08-Feb-14 14:22:19

I think that sounds just like what my year 2 daughter was doing with the headmistress on Friday. I think HT does them a couple of times a year with every child in the school. My daughter mentioned she'd had to read to her from sheets of paper and it was just a lot of sentences without any speech (and it is rare for me to get these snippets of insight into her school day).

My hunch is that the headteacher was doing it to moderate teachers comments before parents evening next term and get a feel for how each class was progressing. Yes we got that "my headteacher says I read like a 9 1/2 year old" (but I think we got that at least a year ago and now the books are much thicker with small font and limited pictures).

My view is that, as long as the children enjoy what they do and the "tests" aren't made out to be particularly important, they can observe my daughter as much as possible in these formative years. They just need to fill her brain with stuff, cultivate her social skills and maintain that passion for learning.

RiversideMum Sat 08-Feb-14 15:55:16

Salford does now have comprehension questions but I'd guess that (given doing the test is time consuming in the first place) most teachers don't bother using them. You can get a better feel of comprehension via guided reading. If you get a very big gap between reading age and actual age (eg I had a child in my reception class with a reading age of 10+ years) then there can be comprehension issues.

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