The Center for the Improvement of Early Reading Achievement (CIERA) is the national center for research on early reading and represents a consortium of educators in five universities (University of Michigan, University of Virginia, and Michigan State University with University of Southern California and University of Minnesota), teacher educators, teachers, publishers of texts, tests, and technology, professional organizations, and schools and school districts across the United States. CIERA is supported under the Educational Research and Development Centers Program, PR/Award Number R305R70004, as administered by the Office of Educational Research and Improvement, U.S. Department of Education.
CIERA's mission is to improve the reading achievement of America's children by generating and disseminating theoretical, empirical, and practical solutions to persistent problems in the learning and teaching of beginning reading.
The model that underlies CIERA's efforts acknowledges many influences on children's reading acquisition. The multiple influences on children's early reading acquisition can be represented in three successive layers, each yielding an area of inquiry of the CIERA scope of work. These three areas of inquiry each present a set of persistent problems in the learning and teaching of beginning reading:
Characteristics of readers and texts and their relationship to early reading achievement. What are the characteristics of readers and texts that have the greatest influence on early success in reading? How can children's existing knowledge and classroom environments enhance the factors that make for success?
Home and school effects on early reading achievment. How do the contexts of homes, communities, classrooms, and schools support high levels of reading achievement among primary-level children? How can these contexts be enhanced to ensure high levels of reading achievement for all children?
Policy and professional effects on early reading achievement. How can new teachers be initiated into the profession and experienced teachers be provided with the knowledge and dispositions to teach young children to read well? How do policies at all levels support or detract from providing all children with access to high levels of reading instruction?
CIERA Inquiry 2: Home and School
What classroom-based literacy measures are available to teachers and how can we best characterize the instructional assessments teachers use in their classrooms to evaluate their students' literacy performance?
CIERA April 23, 2001
This report focuses on results of a systematic study of instructional assessments of early literacy designed by teachers and other educators for use in K-3 classrooms. The report presents the methodology and coding scheme used for collecting classroom-based measures and evaluating their content. It provides data about how reading and writing skills are assessed by teachers and shows the relationship between the skills included on these assessments and the skills associated with national standards and benchmarks. It also characterizes the instructional assessments teachers use in their classrooms to evaluate their students' literacy performance in terms of categories of skills assessed, types of assessment models utilized, differences in student responses elicited by the assessments, forms of administration, types of mental processing required of students, and other parameters. The discussion concerns questions about the psychometric properties of these assessments, their relationship to national standards, and their place in the instructional process for classroom teachers.
©2001 Center for the Improvement of Early Reading Achievement.
This research was supported under the Educational Research and Development Centers Program, PR/Award Number R305R70004, as administered by the Office of Educational Research and Improvement, U.S. Department of Education. However, the comments do not necessarily represent the positions or policies of the National Institute of Student Achievement, Curriculum, and Assessment or the National Institute on Early Childhood Development, or the U.S. Department of Education, and you should not assume endorsement by the Federal Government.
T he current administration in Washington has made development of early reading skills a topic of great importance. President Bush's predecessor, Bill Clinton, did his part to raise early reading assessment to a pinnacle of public attention when, in his 1997 State of the Union address, he said that "Every state should adopt high national standards, and by 1999 every state should test every fourth grader in reading and every eighth grader in math to make sure these standards are met. . . . Good tests will show us who needs help, what changes in teaching to make, and which schools to improve."
Unfortunately or not, the President's words outstripped reality. Congress fought his plan for "voluntary" national tests in reading and math and refused to allow government funds to be used for this purpose. On a more academic level, one can see that his goals for "good tests" can never be achieved by a single assessment: No test can, by itself, serve as many purposes as the President desired. First, in order for a test to "show us who needs help" we would need information about individuals that predicts future performance. This is what Resnick and Resnick (1992) call selection and certification of students. Second, in order to know what changes in teaching to make, we would need to have tools available that would permit us to diagnose particular strengths and weaknesses in individual student performances and then be in a position to monitor the effects of instruction. This type of assessment is called instructional management and monitoring, or instructional assessment. Finally, if we want our tests to tell us "which schools to improve" we are seeking an assessment that provides public accountability and program evaluation. Such tests provide those with responsibility for the funding and supervision of education with information on whether a particular program is succeeding in its academic goals (Resnick & Resnick, 1992).
In short, no single assessment can cover all of the purposes that are required of tests and evaluations. Of all the testing that take place in schools, the vast majority is created by teachers or is otherwise some form of informal classroom or instructional assessment (Stiggins & Bridgeford, 1985; Stiggins, Griswold, & Wikelund, 1989). Although teachers devote some attention to diagnostic assessments in order to enhance their instructional practices (see Lipson & Wixson, 1991; Murphy, Shannon, Johnston, & Hansen, 1988), and schools, districts, states, and the federal government certainly impose accountability testing in great quantities (see Anthony, Johnson, Mickelson, & Preece, 1991; Calkins, Montgomery, Santman, & Falk, 1998), the vast majority of the available assessment time and energy is consumed by instructional assessment.
We define instructional assessment as formal or informal methods of obtaining information about children's classroom performance in order to guide instructional decision-making and provide instructionally relevant information to teachers. In an instructional assessment the primary focus is on individual learning rather than on group reporting of average scores. More specifically, instructional assessment is not designed to rank or compare students or to be used for high-stakes purposes. Rather, it is a tool for the teacher, and its value is linked directly to its impact on instruction. Instructional assessments are intended to clarify what students are learning and have begun to master by providing information that is relevant to understanding individual students' learning profiles. In this way, like other authentic performance assessments, their purpose is to enhance learning and improve instruction (Calfee, 1992; Calfee & Hiebert, 1991; Meisels, 1997).
Conventional standardized tests of reading achievement have been subjected to extensive analysis (see Haladyna, Nolen, & Haas, 1991; Stallman & Pearson, 1990a, 1990b), but less information is available regarding instructional assessments. Indeed, the National Research Council's Committee on the Prevention of Reading Difficulties (Snow, Burns, & Griffin, 1998) made the following recommendation:
Toward the goal of assisting teachers in day-to-day monitoring of student progress along the array of dimensions on which reading growth depends, the appropriate government agencies and private foundations should sponsor evaluation, synthesis, and, as necessary, further development of informal and curriculum-based assessment tools and strategies. In complement, state and local school districts should undertake concerted efforts to assist teachers and reading specialists in understanding how best to administer, interpret, and instructionally respond to such assessments. (p. 337)
In short, notwithstanding several attempts to describe the significance and role of instructional assessment in the classroom routine (Taylor, 1990; Valencia & Calfee, 1991; Winograd, Paris, & Bridge, 1991), more focus is needed on the area of instructional assessment--particularly in the area of literacy. This technical report is intended to provide a compilation and analysis of early literacy assessments used for instruction.
The purpose of this study is threefold: (a) to gain an understanding of classroom-based literacy measures that are available to teachers; (b) to characterize the instructional assessments teachers use in their classrooms to evaluate their students' literacy performance; and (c) to learn more about how teachers assess reading and writing elements. Throughout this report we will refer to "skills and elements" to denote what the literacy assessments are designed to measure. In some cases (e.g., spelling, punctuation, phonetic analysis), the assessments focus clearly on skills. In other cases (e.g., demonstrating concepts of print; extracting meaning from text; assessing self-reflection, motivation, or attitudes), the term "literacy element" is more appropriate.
This report presents our response to these research questions as well as a set of recommendations based on them. It is accompanied by a database available on the CIERA website (www.ciera.org) that provides detailed information about each of the assessments reviewed for this report.
We used four criteria to select early literacy assessments for this study. First, we included measures that were developed for use in classrooms by teachers, school districts, state departments of education, and/or researchers. As will be described later, these measures were nominated by teachers and other educational professionals. Second, for the most part we focused on measures that were developed and distributed by noncommercial publishers. Third, we included measures whose primary purpose was instruction, rather than accountability. Finally, we examined assessments that targeted children between kindergarten and third grade. Measures that extended beyond third grade were only analyzed to grade 3.
Several measures that were recommended by our sources were not included in our sample. We excluded measures designed primarily for toddlers, preschoolers, or students in fourth grade and beyond; non-literacy related assessments (e.g., science, social studies); assessments used for research purposes; and assessments primarily used for accountability purposes. We included, but did not comprehensively sample, measures that assess motivation, self-perception, and attitudes toward reading.
We gathered the measures used in this survey from five sources: listservs, personal contacts, literature searches and published reviews of the measures, websites, and newsletter postings. We posted a request for information regarding classroom-based literacy practices on eight listservs (see Table 1). These listservs reach a wide range of practitioners, researchers, and policymakers, many of whom provided us with names of informal literacy assessments and with referrals regarding people to contact, books to review, and websites to examine.
Personal contacts took place with practitioners, researchers, state-level policymakers, and representatives of professional reading organizations. These contacts included individuals who responded to our listserv postings as well as leading researchers, state reading coordinators, academics, and others who were recommended to us. These conversations led to our receiving copies of several measures, as well as additional suggestions for other literacy assessments.
Our literature search identified numerous books, journals, articles, and papers that were reviewed for relevant assessment information. Most sources consisted of guidelines for developing informal assessments, assessing students in higher grades, and current trends in the field of assessment. A few included specific assessments for K-3. The majority of the assessments were found in books, and several were located in such reading journals as The Reading Teacher and Elementary School Journal. Other searches provided standardization and psychometric properties for the assessments we received.
We also accessed the websites of numerous national organizations, state departments of education, schools, and the U. S. Department of Education's Cross-Site Index (see Table 2). These websites were primarily concerned with assessment-related information and described articles, books, and handouts with guidelines for developing informal assessments. The few sites with specific literacy assessments for K-3 described materials that were commercially developed and distributed.
We posted a notice in a large number of local, state, and national newsletters that reach reading teachers and early childhood and elementary educators. Local affiliates of the Michigan Reading Association, state affiliates of the National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC), and affiliates of the International Reading Association agreed to post our notice in their newsletters (see Table 3). Although these requests for literacy assessments reached a large number of practitioners, we received only a handful of assessments from this effort. However, the measures we received included references to other literacy-related measures for K-3. Nevertheless, it is clear that this report does not include an exhaustive enumeration of informal literacy assessments. It represents strictly a sampling of the universe.
Overall, we collected a large number of measures (N = 89) that were created by a wide spectrum of developers (states, 10%; districts or schools, 11%; teachers, 16%; researchers, 60%; and other developers, 3%). The copyright dates of the assessments extend from 1936-1999, although the majority are from the past 10 years
(N = 60). For assessments with more than one version, the most recent edition was analyzed. All measures were examined directly, either through obtaining copies of the measures from the developers or through library or interlibrary loan requests.
The coding scheme for analyzing the measures is adapted from Stallman and Pearson (1990b), Pearson, Sensale, Vyas, and Kim (1998), Stiggins (1995), Mariotti and Homan (1997), and our own explanatory analysis. The list of analytic categories is presented in Table 4. The coding scheme is organized around the types of literacy elements evaluated and the ways in which these skills or elements are assessed at different grade levels. The scheme is divided into two broad sections: (a) general overview, and (b) skills or elements tested, with each section further subdivided into more discrete elements. The coding manual, which provides a description of each section, is located in Appendix A. Below we describe the contents of the coding scheme.
The general overview contains identifying information about the measure, including names of authors, general availability, overall purpose, and language availability. The purpose of the measures indicates its overall intent. Some measures are very specific about the types of elements they evaluate (e.g., spelling, phonemic awareness), whereas others are more global and encompass a range of elements (e.g., reading, writing). Information concerning the measure's standardization and psychometric properties is located in this section. Finally, any additional information unique to the measure that is not included in the Skills or Elements Tested section is indicated in the comments section. The general overview also provides a summary of the contents of the Skills or Elements Tested section, the grade levels evaluated by the measure, the form of administration, frequency, time required to administer the measure, assessment models, format for recording student responses, and category of elements.
This section examines the specific skills or elements the measures are designed to assess. Eighty-eight percent of the measures assess more than one literacy element, ranging from 1 to 67 different elements.
The elements are divided into eleven literacy-related categories, with two additional categories examining students' oral language and other elements. These categories are further subdivided into specific constituents, accounting for 133 skills or elements in all (see Table 5). The categories and constituent elements were derived from our analysis of the assessments. We compared these elements to the standards and benchmarks compiled by the Mid-continental Regional Educational Laboratory (McREL; Kendall & Marzano, 1997). McREL standards and benchmarks provide a format that reflects state and national standards in the various curriculum domains. The McREL content standards for Language Arts comprise eight standards for K-12. We include the eight Language Arts standards with their benchmarks for K-3 as an Appendix to the coding manual (see Appendix A) and we indicate with an asterisk those elements that are referenced in the McREL content standards.
c. Types of Compositions 1
h. Writing Attends To Audience See Matches a McREL Benchmark and Standard.
j. Writing Contains A Purpose See Matches a McREL Benchmark and Standard.
p. Writing Process See Matches a McREL Benchmark and Standard.
a. Capitalization See Matches a McREL Benchmark and Standard.
c. Grammatically Correct Sentences See Matches a McREL Benchmark and Standard.
c. Linguistic Organization See Matches a McREL Benchmark and Standard.
d. Paragraphs See Matches a McREL Benchmark and Standard.
e. Punctuation Marks See Matches a McREL Benchmark and Standard.
f. Spelling See Matches a McREL Benchmark and Standard.
b. Directionality See Matches a McREL Benchmark and Standard.
c. Identification of Parts of a Book See Matches a McREL Benchmark and Standard.
e. Letter and Word Order See Matches a McREL Benchmark and Standard.
h. Understands That Print Conveys Meaning See Matches a McREL Benchmark and Standard.
j. Word Boundaries See Matches a McREL Benchmark and Standard.
a. Decoding Words See Matches a McREL Benchmark and Standard.
e. Phonemic Awareness See Matches a McREL Benchmark and Standard.
f. Reading Accuracy See Matches a McREL Benchmark and Standard.
i. Texts Student Can Read See Matches a McREL Benchmark and Standard.
b. Monitoring Own Reading Strategies See Matches a McREL Benchmark and Standard.
c. Self-Correction See Matches a McREL Benchmark and Standard.
d. Using Pictures and Story Line for Predicting Context and Words See Matches a McREL Benchmark and Standard.
b. Connects Universally Shared Experiences With Text See Matches a McREL Benchmark and Standard.
c. Distinguishes Fantasy From Realistic Texts See Matches a McREL Benchmark and Standard.
f. Inferences See Matches a McREL Benchmark and Standard.
h. Literary Analysis See Matches a McREL Benchmark and Standard.
i. Prediction Strategies See Matches a McREL Benchmark and Standard.
j. Provides Supporting Details See Matches a McREL Benchmark and Standard.
l. Retelling See Matches a McREL Benchmark and Standard.
We gathered information about the grade of the student for which the element is intended; different elements may be evaluated in different grades by the same measure. Certain elements are more relevant to earlier grades, such as letter identification and identification of parts of a book, whereas other elements may be more specific to older children in second or third grade, such as writing in paragraphs and using complex sentence structures. The form of administration--whether the assessment uses an individual, one-to-one setting, a group format, or both--is noted next. Several forms may be used for different elements within the same measure. The frequency and amount of time required to administer this part of the measure is also noted for each element. This helps us understand how often teachers evaluate elements, and specifically which elements are evaluated regularly and which are assessed infrequently. The amount of time teachers spend evaluating students' literacy elements in a one-to-one setting or in a group suggests how much time is spent on the assessment process.
The six assessment models in the coding scheme are based in part on the work of Stiggins (1995): (a) clinical interviews, (b) constructed response, (c) observation, (d) on-demand response (also described as closed-response set), (e) student self-assessment, and (f) multiple responses (see Table 6). The first four and the sixth of these models emerged from our readings and a priori categorizations; however, student self-assessment was derived from the data we reviewed. Teachers, researchers, and districts view students' involvement with the evaluation of their work as a growing and critical aspect of the assessment process. We also found through our analyses that the same element was sometimes evaluated differently with the same tool. In cases in which a element is assessed in multiple ways, we classified the model as comprising multiple responses.
Item response format covers a list of formats that practitioners use for recording student responses (see Table 7). The formats were derived from several sources, including Stallman and Pearson (1990b) and Pearson et al. (1998), as well as from our analysis of the measures we obtained. Stallman and Pearson (1990b) only included checklists and multiple choice. Pearson et al. (1998) expanded Stallman and Pearson's (1990b) analysis to include four more categories. We further expanded the categories to include twelve formats and we renamed the formats to distinguish among the numerous types of formats available to practitioners.
The number of items the measure offers for evaluating a specific skill or element describes the quantity of information teachers are asked to gather in order to assess a particular element. However, the number of items says very little in itself; a place is provided for a description of the items, such as "uses a passage or rubric," "is a question or statement," or "is part of a larger checklist or questionnaire."
Questions or tasks are used to explore a student's understanding of elements in reading or literacy that are intended to produce an oral free response, rather than a directed one; the response is recorded by the teacher or the administrator.
Questions or tasks are used to explore a student's understanding of elements in reading or literacy that are intended to produce a written free response, rather than a directed one; the response is recorded by the teacher or the administrator.
The presentation section uses subcategories from Stallman and Pearson (1990b), with revisions from Pearson et al. (1998). The mode of presentation, which contains six options, describes the main mode of presentation used by the examiner, including auditory and visual (see Table 8). The unit of presentation is the type of stimulus to which the student is asked to respond; we added a few options and eliminated others to arrive at a total of 24 options (see Table 8). Examples of units of presentation that emerged from our data include books, connected discourse, letters, phonemes, stories, and words.
The response section is also borrowed from Stallman and Pearson (1990b), with revisions by the authors and by Pearson et al. (1998). Specific types of student responses are divided into three subcategories: type of mental processing, unit of response, and student response (see Table 9). The type of mental processing describes how students process the information presented in order to provide the appropriate response. We added three additional options to the original options of identification, production, recognition, and other: recall, reproduction, and multiple responses. Recall is common when assessing comprehension; however, reproduction rarely emerged. The unit of response refers to the stimuli used by the student to indicate the correct answer to the item. Examples of stimuli used by the measures we collected include grapheme, objects, phrase, picture, punctuation marks, and sounds. The student's response categorizes what the student does when responding to the item.
We present frequencies to describe the general overview of the measures we collected, including grade levels, forms of administration, types of assessment models, formats for recording student responses, and categories of elements. The frequencies offer a clear description of the measures. The next step of the analysis focuses on the elements evaluated by the measures, including the methodology, formats, grade levels, and student responses to the items. We also perform cross-tabulations of elements by assessment models, student response formats, and response types. In addition, we examine the standardization and psychometric data that are available concerning these measures. Finally, we provide a description of two samples of our measures in order to demonstrate the kind of information available in the database. The two measures are Guidance in Story Retelling (Morrow, 1986), and Literacy Assessment for Elementary Grades (St. Vrain Valley School District, 1997). The format used to describe these measures was applied to all of the assessments we collected.
This section is divided into two parts. First, we present analyses by specific assessments. In the second part we focus on elements and provide analyses that cut across our entire sample of assessments.
Our analysis includes 89 assessments. A brief overview of the 89 measures is presented in Appendix B; a comprehensive review of each measure is available at www.ciera.org. The summary provides the name of the assessment, author, purpose, grade, form of administration (individual or group setting), and the category of elements each measure assesses. The name of the measure is the title of the tool or the title of the group of measures developed by the same author(s). The groups of measures are placed under the umbrella of the author or title of the book. For example, An Observational Survey (Clay, 1998) contains several tools, such as Concepts about Print and Dictation; all of these assessments are found under the title of Clay's book. Many measures state their purpose as part of the measure. Some descriptions are global, such as "evaluates students' literacy development" (MacArthur CCDP Follow-up Study, 1998), whereas others are very specific, for example "to estimate students' reading level, group students effectively, and appropriately choose textbooks, and to plan intervention instruction" (Leslie & Caldwell, 1995). Measures that do not have a stated purpose receive a generic statement of "to evaluate students' reading and writing abilities."
The grades the measures are to be used with range from K-3; the distribution is presented in Figure 1. Only 10% (N = 9) of the measures are designed for a particular grade level. Many apply to students in two or three grades (N of two grades = 16; N of three grades = 24), with almost half of the measures evaluating literacy elements at all four grade levels (N = 40).
All measures are available in English, and only 5% (N = 4) are available in Spanish (one assessment is available in Danish; see Table 10). Seventy percent of the measures are designed for individual administration, rather than for use in a group setting. These individual forms of administration also include teacher observations of students. Measures that ask teachers to use observations of students in order to complete a checklist are coded as individual administrations unless the measure states that the teacher can complete the checklist or rubric within a group setting. Only 7% of the measures we collected are intended to be administered solely to a group of children.
Table 10 shows how often the measures indicate exactly when to administer the entire assessment or parts of the measure. Fewer than half of the measures (44%) we analyzed explicitly state the minimum number of times that a teacher should evaluate students' literacy elements. About a quarter of the measures (26%) indicate the length of time required to complete the evaluation.
The skills or elements evaluated by the assessments range across 13 categories (see Table 11). Of the assessments we collected, all categories are represented in at least 26% of the measures. More than half of the assessments evaluate students' use of conventions, phonics, reading, and comprehension elements. Evaluations of writing process, print awareness, and reading strategies appear somewhat less frequently (42-48%). The other six categories are included in one third of the assessments. A summary of the specific elements assessed by each measure is presented in Appendix C.
Next, we examine the number of McREL standards found throughout our measures. Table 12 indicates the number of assessments with one or more standards, up to all eight standards. One or two McREL standards are represented in nearly one third of the measures (N = 28), and 13% (N = 12) of the assessments contain a element relevant to all 8 standards. Only 4% (N = 4) of the measures do not contain any McREL standards. The specific standard that is represented most frequently is Standard 5 ("Demonstrates competence in the general skills and strategies of the reading process"). Seventy-three of the assessments included this standard.
We also investigated the various methodologies represented by the assessments. Of the 89 measures, more than half (N = 47) use two very different approaches--observation or on-demand methods--for evaluating students' literacy skills (see Figure 2). Only 29% (N = 26) use constructed responses, and such responses occur predominantly with the writing process and conventions; 16% (N = 14) provide students with the opportunity to participate in the evaluation of their work. Observation, constructed response, and on-demand methods are used most consistently across all grade levels.
All twelve item formats are used across the measures to record student responses (see Table 13). Of the 89 measures, 42% (N = 37) use oral-directed responses as part of their assessment. The next most common format is checklist (36%, N = 32), followed by written open-ended (18%, N = 16). The item formats used by the measures are related to the methodologies; only checklists are used by all methods. An observation methodology in conjunction with checklists is the most frequent combination.
by students for processing the information presented is identification (N = 50, 56%; see Table 14). Production, recall, and "other" are the next most common types of mental processing required of students by the assessments, followed by recognition and multiple responses. The table demonstrates that students use 10 different ways to respond to the items. More than 60% of the measures require students to respond orally; this is followed by written responses (46%). Of the 10 possible ways of responding included in our analysis, 5 were rarely used, occurring in less than 10% of the assessments.
This section describes our analyses in terms of the constituent skills or elements of the assessments. Each skill or element (N = 133) appears only once for each assessment in our coding scheme, regardless of the multiple ways it may be assessed. The frequency of a single element appearing across all assessments ranged from 1-41; a summary of the elements that appear on 10 or more measures is presented in Table 15. The specific skill of decoding words appeared in more than 40 measures; the next most common skill was spelling (N = 38), followed by reading accuracy, summarizing main ideas, and providing supportive details (N for each = 32). In short, this table shows us which elements appear most frequently in the 89 measures we analyzed. (For an analysis of the number of elements included in each assessment, see Appendix C.)
We examined the number of constituent skills or elements that match a particular standard on the McREL standards in the Language Arts content area. We found that 27% (N = 55) of our elements were represented in the McREL standards; Figure 3 shows the number of elements associated with each standard. Overall, we identified a total of 133 constituent elements that were included in the 89 assessments. In addition to the 55 that match the McREL standards, 25 (19%) reflect motivation, self-perception, metacognition, and attitude towards reading. The remaining elements (N = 52; 39%) do not match the McREL standards or the motivation/self-perception group. The three groups of elements are presented in Appendix D.
We further analyzed the distribution of grade levels and forms of administration by constituent skills or elements. Ninety-two percent (N = 123) of the elements are assessed in all grades, K-3. The elements that are not evaluated in all grades are part of the motivation, self-perception, attitude, and metacognition categories (N = 10). These elements tend, on average, to be evaluated in second and third grades, when they are more stable. The form of administration (individual or group) for evaluating the skills or elements is presented in Figure 4. Almost all of the skills or elements are assessed individually, with two thirds assessed as either individual or group.
The most common methodology used for evaluating a particular skill or element is observation (N = 123; see Figure 5). Half of the elements were assessed using either constructed response (N = 67) or on-demand response (N = 65). The least frequently used methodology was clinical interview (N = 20), which is most commonly associated with motivation, self-perception, attitude, and metacognition elements.
The item formats used by administrators for recording student responses across skills or elements are presented in Table 16. Elements are recorded most often with checklists (N = 117). The next most frequently used method of tracking student responses is observation (N = 92), followed by multiple responses, written open-ended, oral-directed, written-directed, and informal reading inventory.
In Table 17 we examine the specific type of response students use to identify correct answers and what the student does in response to each item with the constituent skills or elements. For 90% of the elements (N = 120), teachers decide which activity to use in order to assess a particular skill or element. Approximately two thirds of the elements (N = 89) call upon students to respond in multiple forms and to produce the correct response in order to show their mastery of a skill or element. The use of identification is limited to half of the elements (N = 68). Students respond in 10 different ways when indicating the correct answer; Table 17 lists those responses that occur with more than 10% of the skills or elements. The responses with fewer than 10% include draw, find, manipulate, and mark.
Tables 18 and 19 provide all available information about the standardization and psychometric properties of the assessments that have been reviewed in this report. Very little information is available concerning standardization samples, and in general, relatively little information regarding psychometrics is provided by the authors of the assessments.
Table 18 displays the reliability data available for the 13 assessments that report such information. Both internal and test-retest data are available, and the values reported are moderate to high. Unfortunately, only 14% of the assessments report reliability.
Table 19 provides information regarding the validity of 32 assessments. Content validity is reported for most of the assessments, although in most cases this procedure was not conducted in a formal way. Rather, the author(s) primarily report on how the assessment was developed. Most assessments are validated with an external criterion using a wide variety of outcomes. Indeed, no single outcome was used by more than one assessment. Sample sizes vary from small (18) to large (1,215). Again, few conclusions can be drawn from these findings.
.84-.88 See Split-Half.
.97 See Test-Retest.
Elementary Reading Attitude Survey 5
.68-82 See Cronbach's Alpha.
Content Validity 7
Elementary Reading Attitude Survey See Provides a description of the item development..
1. Asked whether a public library was available and if owned a library card. Students with library cards scored significantly higher (M = 30) on the scale than students without cards and library is available (M = 28.9)
Concurrent: Woodcock Johnson-Revised 8 --of correlation ranged .50-.75
Appendix E presents the description and complete results of our analysis of two sample measures: Guidance in Story Retelling (Morrow, 1986) and the Literacy for Elementary Grades (St. Vrain Valley School District, 1997). They are presented in order to indicate of what the entire corpus of analyses of individual assessments includes of in our database.
This study reviewed 89 assessments coded for 133 skills or elements designed for instructional assessment of early literacy. The measures were selected according to criteria presented in this report, and they represent all such instruments recommended by teachers, administrators, researchers, and policymakers who we were able to contact.
The precursor to this study was conducted more than a decade ago by Stallman and Pearson (1990a, 1990b). Their study differed from ours in that it described and evaluated formal measures used for early literacy assessments whereas this study focused on informal, instructional measures. Nevertheless, it is interesting to consider the two studies simultaneously, if for no other reason than it provides a context that allows us to compare instructional assessments with more conventional "standardized" tests used for accountability.
Stallman and Pearson examined 20 assessments that contained 208 subtests. They found that 82% of the subtests were administered to groups of children; we found that nearly 70% of the assessments we examined were administered to individuals. Because they were examining commercially available tests, it is not surprising that two thirds of the tests included guidelines for administration. However, only one fourth of the assessments we studied had such guidelines. In terms of types of student responses generated by the assessments, Stallman and Pearson reported that 72% of the tests required students to recognize a response, 23% asked for identification, and 5% asked for production. In contrast, 56% of our measures asked students to identify a correct response, followed by 43% requiring students to produce a response; only 17% called for recognition. Finally, Stallman and Pearson reported that 63% of the tests they reviewed required students to fill in bubbles, ovals, or circles to indicate the correct response, whereas our study found that students were most frequently asked to respond orally or to produce a written response. Stallman and Pearson noted that the assessments they studied decontextualized literacy activities; those we analyzed were much more sensitive to assessing literacy in a curriculum-embedded fashion.
In short, the commercially developed measures analyzed by Stallman and Pearson consisted predominantly of multiple choice items that required students to recognize a response that was usually presented out of context. The assessments examined in this study were more complex. They contained a variety of measures, used few multiple choice item formats, and relied primarily on teacher checklists and observations within the flow of classroom activities. Further, the instructional assessments examined here focus on individual students, thus facilitating instructional planning and charting of student progress.
After completing the analysis of these 89 informal assessments used for instruction, several conclusions can be enumerated. They will be listed in terms of the dual focus that we employed in presenting the results: by measures, and by specific skills or elements.
The simplest way of summarizing this information is to say that instructional assessments used for early literacy are extremely varied. Some are well-developed, nationally distributed, and carefully presented. Others are highly informal, contain virtually no psychometric or standardization data, and are relatively incomplete from the point of view of providing rules for systematic interpretation and use.
Of interest is the lack of strong correlation between the national standards published by McREL and the assessments we analyzed. We attribute this lack of strong overlap to differences between our rating scheme and the skills and elements included in the McREL standards. We found that motivation, self-perception, attitude towards reading, and metacognitive categories were omitted from McREL, although we included these areas in our coding scheme. We also found that the fifth McREL Standard ("Demonstrates competence in the general skills and strategies of the reading process") was the most frequently used of all the standards in our analyses. In short, the discrepancies between McREL and this study may reflect a difference in perspective on how the reading process should be analyzed rather than an inconsistency between what was assessed and what was included in the standards.
The sample of instruments used in this study may have also influenced the results of the analysis of McREL Standards, as well as all other findings reported. The study sample represents both a strength and a weakness. Its strength lies in the way that we accumulated these measures from the field and the inclusiveness with which we sought to locate candidate assessments that could be used in this study. The weakness of this approach is that we have no way of knowing what we did not find through this approach. Moreover, the sample is very mixed; some measures are very well developed and widely used, and others are very informal and were developed primarily for a particular teaching situation.
This study has demonstrated the diversity and commonalities among assessments of early literacy used for instruction. Many such assessments exist and a wide range of elements are tapped by them. However, if these assessments are to be successful in reaching their dual goals of enhancing teaching and improving learning, it is critical that more of the developers of these measures undertake systematic analyses of the skills and elements they cover, the literacy methods and responses they incorporate, the types of data to which they are sensitive, and the psychometric properties that provide justification for their meaning and use. Only when these matters have been addressed more adequately will these tools truly achieve their potential for improving early reading achievement.
Calfee, R. (1992). Authentic assessment of reading and writing in the elementary classroom. In M. J. Dreher & W. H. Slater (Eds.), Elementary school literacy: Critical issues (pp. 211-226). Norwood, MA: Christopher-Gordon.
Conrad, L. L. (1993). An inventory of classroom writing use. Adapted from An inventory of classroom reading use. In L. K. Rhodes (Ed.), Literacy assessment: A handbook of instruments (pp. 56-72). Portsmouth, NH: Heinemann.
Denver Coordinators/Consultants Applying Whole Language. (1993). Classroom Reading Miscue Assessment. In L. K. Rhodes (Ed.), Literacy assessment: A handbook of instruments (pp. 38-43). Portsmouth, NH: Heinemann.
Falk, B., Ort, S. W., & Moirs, K. (1999). New York State Goals 2000: Early Literacy Profile Project. Technical Report. National Center for Restructuring Education, Schools, and Teaching. New York: Columbia Teachers College.
Imbens-Bailey, A. L., Dingle, M., & Moughamian, A. (1999). Assessment of Syntactic Structure. Los Angeles, CA: Center for the Study of Evaluation/Center for Research on Evaluation, Standards, and Student Testing, University of California at Los Angeles.
Invernizzi, M., Meier, J. D., Juel, C. L., & Swank, L. K. (1997). Phonological Awareness & Literacy Screening, I and II. Charlottesville, VA: The Virginia State Department of Education and University of Virginia, Curry School of Education.
Kendall, J. S., & Marzano, R. J. (1997). Content knowledge: A compendium of standards and benchmarks for K-12 education. Aurora, CO and Alexandria, VA: Mid-continent Regional Educational Laboratories and the Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development.
Klesius, J. P., & Homan, S. P. (1980). Klesius-Homan Phonic Word Analysis Test (unpublished manuscript). In A. S. Mariotti & S. P. Homan, Linking reading assessment to instruction (pp. 182-185). Mahwah, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates.
Klesius, J. P., & Searls, E. F. (1985). Modified concepts about print (unpublished manuscript). In A. S. Mariotti & S. P. Homan (1997), Linking reading assessment to instruction (pp. 190-195). Mahwah, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates.
Meisels, S. J., Bickel, D. D., Nicholson, J., Xue, Y., & Atkins-Burnett, S. (in press). Trusting teachers' judgments: A validity study of a curriculum-embedded performance assessment in K-3. American Educational Research Journal.
Meisels, S. J., Liaw, F., Dorfman, A., & Nelson, R. F. (1995). The Work Sampling System: Reliability and validity of a performance assessment for young children. Early Childhood Research Quarterly, 10, 277-296.
Paris, S. G., & Van Kraayenoord, C. E. (1998). Book selection. In S. Paris & H. Wellman (Eds.), Global prospects for education: Development, culture, and school (pp. 193-227).Washington, DC: American Psychological Association.
Pearson P. D., Sensale, L., Vyas, S., & Kim, Y. (1998, December). Early literacy assessment: A marketplace analysis. Paper presented at the annual meeting of the National Reading Conference, Austin, TX.
Resnick, L. B., & Resnick, D. P. (1992). Assessing the thinking curriculum: New tools for educational reform. In B. R. Gifford & M. C. O'Connor (Eds.), Changing assessment: Alternative views of aptitude, achievement, and instruction (pp. 37-75). Boston: Klewer.
Stahl, S. A., & Murray, B. A. (1993). Test of Phonemic Awareness (unpublished manuscript). In A. S. Mariotti & S. P. Homan (1997), Linking reading assessment to instruction (pp. 205-206). Mahwah, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates.
Stallman, A. C., & Pearson, P. D. (1990a). Formal measures of early literacy. In L. M. Morrow & J. K. Smith (Eds.), Assessment for instruction in early literacy (pp. 7-44). Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice Hall.
Stallman, A. C., & Pearson, P. D. (1990b). Formal measures of early literacy (No. G0087-C1001-90). Cambridge, MA: Bolt, Beranek and Newman, Inc. Illinois University, Urbana. Center for the Study of Reading. (ERIC Document Reproduction Services No. ED 324 647)
This Manual describes a classification system for analyzing teacher-, district-, and research-developed literacy assessments for grades K-3. The manual is divided into two sections: General Overview, and Skills or Elements Tested. The General Overview consists of basic information about the assessment (e.g., name, author), a brief summary of the content (e.g., grade, format), psychometric information (e.g., standardization, reliability, validity), and additional information (e.g., description of how to develop a portfolio system). The Skills or Elements Tested section contains information specific to particular skills and elements included in the assessments. For example, an assessment that focuses on mechanics in compositional writing may be further divided into the student's use of punctuation marks, grammatically correct sentences, correct spelling, and so forth. For each particular element, information is presented concerning grade level, frequency and mode of administration, and scoring. For an outline of the Manual's contents, see Table 1.
The coding classification systems are a synthesis of codes used in other sources including Kendall and Marzano (1997), Pearson, Sensale, Vyas, and Kim (1998), Stallman and Pearson (1990), and Stiggins (1995). Most of the definitions were derived from Harris and Hodges (1995), Pearson et al. (1998), and Stallman and Pearson (1990).
II. Skills or Elements Tested: This section contains information pertaining to the specific literacy skills or elements covered by each assessment. Each element (described in section A) is identified, and then information about how this element is assessed is provided in sections B-M. Because assessments typically assess more than one skill or element, there are usually several Elements Tested sections for each assessment.
A. Elements, Standards, and Benchmarks: The skills or elements are divided into eleven literacy-related categories with two additional categories examining student oral language and other elements. These categories are further subdivided into specific elements. The specific element is designated by the letter A. Accompanying information about that element is included in paragraphs identified by letters B-M (see Table 1).
This Manual utilizes the format for representing state and national standards compiled by the Mid-continent Regional Educational Laboratory (McREL; Kendall & Marzano, 1997). This widely accepted format is used to identify the relevant standard(s) and benchmark(s) being assessed. The McREL content standards describe the knowledge and skills that students should attain. The content standards encompass three general types of knowledge: procedural (which is most often used in Language Arts), declarative, and contextual. Benchmarks, which are subcomponents of standards, identify expected levels of understanding or skills at various grade levels.
The McREL English Language Arts subject area contains eight standards with two levels of benchmarks: grades K-2 and 3-5. (For a complete listing of the benchmarks and levels for each standard, see the Appendix to the Coding Manual.) Whenever possible, each literacy-related category is identified by the appropriate standard(s). However, not all categories correspond to a standard. Relevant benchmarks are noted in parentheses following each specific element. If the author(s) identifies state standards as the basis for the assessment, this is noted in the comments section of the General Overview.
p. Writing Process: Understands the many aspects of the complex act of producing a written communication; specifically, choosing a topic of interest, planning or prewriting, drafting, revising, editing, and publishing. (1.1, 1.2, 1.3, 1.9, 1.10, 1.11)
b. Directional Principles in Writing: The student's composition illustrates an ability to perceive spatial and directional orientation (e.g., letters and words are arranged from left to right and top to bottom).
c. Grammatically Correct Sentences: The degree to which a written or spoken utterance follows the grammatical rules of language, such as understanding subject-verb agreement. Additionally, the use of grammatically complex structures in compositions (e.g., the number of clauses in a sentence) and discriminating between types of sentences is included. (2.4, 3.2, 3.3, 3.12)
g. Understands Punctuation Marks: The student identifies punctuation marks and either tells why they are used or uses them appropriately (e.g., if shown a ?, he or she can verbalize question mark or raises voice at end of sentence).
j. Word Boundaries: The student identifies the beginning and the end of a word or a sentence and understands the concept of first and last. Knowing where to start reading, differentiating between morphemes by placing a space between them (e.g., playing ball for playingball), and understanding the bottom and top of a picture are also considered word boundaries. (3.1, 5.2)
a. Decoding Words: Students translate or analyze spoken or graphic symbols of a familiar language to ascertain their intended meaning. Word identification and sight vocabulary, which refer to the process of determining the pronunciation and some degree of meaning of a word in written or printed form, are also considered decoding. The differentiation between the two depends on the student's prior knowledge of the word. (5.5, 5.13, 5.14)
b. Identification of Beginning Sounds: The application of phonic skills in reproducing the sound(s) presented by a letter or letter group in a word. Knowing the sounds for each letter, and matching phonemes with their letter is also considered identification of beginning sounds. (5.5)
e. Pretend Reading: Refers to participating in reading-related activities and make-believe reading, such as turning pages of a book while inventing words and repeating the contents of a book from memory after listening to it.
i. Texts Student Can Read: The type of texts the student is able to read. This refers to such diverse skills as: recognizing own name in print, reading words in the environment, reading simple text, reading complex children's literature, reading different genres, and interpreting reference materials, such as dictionaries, tables of contents, diagrams, and maps. (6.1, 6.7, 7.1, 7.5)
b. Monitoring Own Reading Strategies: When reading, the student monitors his/her own reading and makes modifications that produce grammatically acceptable sentences and that make meaningful substitutions. (5.16)
d. Using Pictures and Story Line for Predicting Context and Words: The ability to predict what will happen next in a story and determining meaning of the words by using pictorial and contextual cues. (5.4)
e. Identify Cause-Effect Relationships: Notices the stated or implied association between an outcome and the conditions that brought it about; often an organizing principle in narrative and expository text.
c. Family Support and Prior Experience: Family influence on literacy behavior and opportunities provided for the student, such as being read to before school entry, having books in the home, and visiting the library.
j. Strategy-Execution for How to Read: Student selects a suitable strategy that will allow him/her to realize a learning goal; may elect to skim the passage and develop a set of guiding questions, use story grammar, a pattern guide, imaging, note-taking, or other strategies; reader initiates the reading task with the most appropriate strategy to facilitate the meaning-making process. (6.1)
e. Language Production: The ability to listen and express oneself verbally in a clear, understandable fashion, from simple sentences to use of complex sentences (e.g., gives clear directions orally). (8.14)
n. Various Types of Communication: Student participates in a range and variety of talk, such as planning an event, solving a problem, expressing a point of view, and reporting results of an investigation.
B. Grade/age: The grades or ages of the students for which the element is intended. If no grade or age is provided, grade levels may be inferred from the element and the instrument. However, if questions remain, the author should be contacted.
E. Amount of time required to administer: The length of time required for assessing the element. If an amount of time is not provided, the author should be contacted. However, due to the nature of the way the element is assessed, this parameter may not be applicable. For example, if a student is asked to write a response, the amount of time may vary greatly.
f. Incomplete Passage: The student is given a passage with words missing, such as a cloze test. The cloze test requires a student to fill in the blank with a word that makes sense within the surrounding text.
m. Phoneme: A minimal sound unit of speech that, when contrasted with another phoneme, affects the meaning of words in a language (e.g., /b/ in book contrasts with /t/ in took, /k/ in cook, or /h/ in hook).
o. Picture with directions from administrator: Specific directions that directly relate to the student's interaction with a picture. The directions will not make sense without the picture, and the picture may be specific to each item.
Stallman, A. C., & Pearson, P. D. (1990). Formal measures of early literacy (No. G0087-C1001-90). Cambridge, MA and Champaign, IL: Bolt, Beranek and Newman, Inc., and the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, Center for the Study of Reading. (ERIC Document Reproduction Services No. ED 324 647)
1.1 Prewriting: Uses prewriting strategies to plan written work (e.g., discusses ideas with peers, draws pictures to generate ideas, writes key thoughts and questions, rehearses ideas, records reactions and observations)
1.2 Drafting and Revising: Uses strategies to draft and revise written work (e.g., rereads; rearranges words, sentences, and paragraphs to improve or clarify meaning; varies sentence type; adds descriptive words and details; deletes extraneous information; incorporates suggestions from peers and teachers; sharpens the focus)
1.3 Editing and Publishing: Uses strategies to edit and publish written work (e.g., proofreads using a dictionary and other resources; edits for grammar, punctuation, capitalization, and spelling at a developmentally appropriate level; incorporates illustrations or photos; shares finished product)
1.10 Drafting and Revising: Uses strategies to draft and revise written work (e.g., elaborates on a central idea; writes with attention to voice, audience, word choice, tone, and imagery; uses paragraphs to develop separate ideas)
1.11 Editing and Publishing: Uses strategies to edit and publish written work (e.g., edits for grammar, punctuation, capitalization, and spelling at a developmentally appropriate level; considers page format [paragraphs, margins, indentations, titles]; selects presentation format; incorporates photos, illustrations, charts, and graphs)
1.15 Writes expository compositions (e.g., identifies and stays on the topic; develops the topic with simple facts, details, examples, and explanations; excludes extraneous and inappropriate information)
1.16 Writes narrative accounts (e.g., engages the reader by establishing a context and otherwise developing reader interest; establishes a situation, plot, point of view, setting, and conflict; creates an organizational structure that balances and unifies all narrative aspects of the story; uses sensory details and concrete language to develop plot and character; uses a range of strategies such as dialogue and tension or suspense)
1.18 Writes expressive compositions (e.g., expresses ideas, reflections, and observations; uses an individual, authentic voice; uses narrative strategies, relevant details, and ideas that enable the reader to imagine the world of the event or experience)
2.3 Uses paragraph form in writing (e.g., indents the first word of a paragraph, uses topic sentences, recognizes a paragraph as a group of sentences about one main idea, writes several related paragraphs)
3.8 Uses conventions of spelling in written compositions (e.g., spells high-frequency, commonly misspelled words from appropriate grade-level list; uses a dictionary and other resources to spell words; spells own first and last name)
3.20 Uses conventions of spelling in written compositions (e.g., spells high frequency, commonly misspelled words from appropriate grade-level list; uses a dictionary and other resources to spell words; uses initial consonant substitution to spell related words; uses vowel combinations for correct spelling)
3.21 Uses conventions of capitalization in written compositions (e.g., titles of people; proper nouns [names of towns, cities, counties, and states; days of the week; months of the year; names of streets; names of countries; holidays]; first word of direct quotations; heading, salutation, and closing of a letter)
3.22 Uses conventions of punctuation in written compositions (e.g., uses periods after imperative sentences and in initials, abbreviations, and titles before names; uses commas in dates and addresses and after greetings and closings in a letter; uses apostrophes in contractions and possessive nouns; uses quotation marks around titles and with direct quotations; uses a colon between hour and minutes)
5.2 Understands how print is organized and read (e.g., identifies front and back covers, title page, and author; follows words from left to right and from top to bottom; recognizes the significance of spaces between words)
6.1 Applies reading skills and strategies to a variety of familiar literary passages and texts (e.g., fairy tales, folktales, fiction, nonfiction, legends, fables, myths, poems, picture books, predictable books)
6.7 Applies reading skills and strategies to a variety of literary passages and texts (e.g., fairy tales, folktales, fiction, nonfiction, myths, poems, fables, fantasies, historical fiction, biographies, autobiographies)
6.8 Knows the defining characteristics of a variety of literary forms and genres (e.g., fairy tales, folktales, fiction, nonfiction, myths, poems, fables, fantasies, historical fiction, biographies, autobiographies)
8.20 Identifies specific ways in which language is used in real-life situations (e.g., buying something from a shopkeeper, requesting something from a parent, arguing with a sibling, talking to a friend)
To determine if frequent practice and guidance in retelling stories can improve children's dictation of original stories specifically for inclusion of story structural elements and syntactic complexity
To provide diagnostic information to teachers, monitor individual students' growth and achievement, select students for categorical programs, compile school profiles for accountability and goal setting, and evaluate programs and report results
To provide teachers with an efficient and reliable way to quantitatively and qualitatively assess reading motivation by evaluating students' self-concept as readers and the value they place on reading
To aid in classroom-based linking of assessment and instruction. Profiles are frameworks, which help gauge students' literacy development, guide instruction based on students' strengths and needs, and help communication with families
The purpose of the Guidance in Story Retelling (GSR) is to determine whether students' dictation of stories improves with frequent practice and guidance. This measure is recommended by reading specialists who use Morrow's guided retelling to evaluate their students' comprehension. The measure is available in English, and although Morrow's research is with kindergarten students, reading teachers use her measure with students across a range of grade levels, including K-3. Morrow does not prescribe how often the measure should be administered, leaving this to the discretion of the teacher. The length of time to administer the measure depends on how long it takes the students to complete their recall of the story.
The actual measure is printed on one page with 12 general questions that test for the students' memory of the different elements of a story. The questions assess the students' recall of four specific elements: the sequencing of the story's recalled events, and the ability to summarize main ideas, to provide supporting details, and to draw conclusions. Morrow uses on-demand assessment methodology, with the teacher writing down students' oral responses. The presentation of the stimuli used for evaluating students' comprehension is both auditory and visual, which in this case is a storybook read by the teacher. Students respond to the stimuli by orally recalling the events of the story read by the teacher. Once the students complete their retelling, their responses are evaluated using the 12 items. Students receive one point for each correct response, half a point for getting the basic idea of the story, and no points for irrelevant information. The points are added to give the student a single score with a maximum of 12.
The purpose of the Literacy Assessment for Elementary Grades (LAEG) is to provide teachers with a comprehensive measure for evaluating their students' literacy skills. This information is then used for instruction, placement, and program evaluation. The assessment is available in both English and Spanish and can be used with students in K-3. The measure is administered in the fall, with an option for teachers to administer it in the spring. The amount of time for administration is not indicated or suggested by the authors. LAEG is divided by grade levels. Each level contains focused individual measures for evaluating a series of related skills, such as a phonics test and a word identification test. Most of these focused tests are consistent across grades; however, some are particular to one or two grade levels, such as letter identification for kindergarten and the phonics test for kindergarten and first grade. The LAEG includes two additional components drawn from other authors and publishers, specifically Marie Clay's Concepts About Print and the Houghton Mifflin Baseline Test.
LAEG assesses students' mechanical conventions, phonics, reading, comprehension, and listening and speaking abilities, focusing on 18 specific skills. LAEG uses both observations and on-demand methodologies for assessing students' literacy performance. Teachers are asked to record student responses using either checklists, running records, oral-directed forms, oral open-ended forms, dictation, or an informal reading inventory.
The stimuli used to assess the 18 skills are presented either as auditory, visual, or both auditory and visual. The unit of how the stimuli are presented includes the use of a grapheme, letter, word, story, or story with related questions. The number of items range from 0 to 52, depending on the focus test, with most skills evaluated using a story or a passage. Students respond to the stimuli by identifying, producing, or recalling the responses. The stimuli the student uses to indicate the correct response is a letter, word, sound, or some type of verbal response, with students responding either orally or through writing. Three forms of scoring are used throughout the measure for calculating students' total score: (a) their response is correct or incorrect, (b) based on their response they pass or fail that section of the test, and (c) their responses are scored using a rubric.
5. Provides standardization information: National representative sample of 18,138 students in 1-6 grades; 499 schools within 95 school districts in 38 U.S. states; ethnicity is close to the U.S. population; and includes percentile ranks for each grade and scale.