Development of a novel approach to assessing reading comprehension

Reading comprehension is a seemingly simple task. However, teaching, learning, and practicing this skill is not as simple as it would seem—and evaluating it is often just as difficult. The RAND Reading Study Group defines reading comprehension as “the process of simultaneously extracting and constructing meaning through interaction and involvement with written language” (p. xiii).

There have been many assessment formats developed to tap into what (and if) students are comprehending what they read. For instance, the cloze procedure asks readers to fill in a missing word within a sentence. However, test takers may have the tendency to focus on the immediate context of the question instead of the entire passage. Multiple-choice questions, easy to develop and score, may rely on passageless comprehension–that is, the likelihood that an examinee could take an educated guess based on prior knowledge, without reading the entire passage, and still score correctly.

According to the RAND study group, there are four factors that influence reading comprehension: the reader (e.g., his or her skills, knowledge, and preferences); the text (e.g., vocabulary, structure, and reading level); the reading activity (e.g., web site or novel); and reading over time (e.g., cognitive development).

When developing the Academic Achievement Battery Reading Comprehension: Passages subtest, author Melissa A. Messer took these factors into account and developed a valid and reliable reading comprehension test that is accurate and appropriate for all age and grade levels.

The novel approach used to develop this subtest identifies reading comprehension strengths and weaknesses across a wide and grade range. Learn more about the development of this AAB subtest in a new white paper available now on our website.

View or download for free!

PAR exhibits at two conferences this week!

This week, PAR staff will be exhibiting at two conferences. Here's a sneak peek into what you will find when you come visit us at the booth! 

A group of PAR staff will be attending the 16th American Academy of Clinical Neuropsychology Conference (AACN) in San Diego, California. We will have many products on display, including the Neuropsychological Assessment Battery (NAB). We will be offering conference attendees a 15% discount and free ground shipping, so make sure to stop by and say hi while taking advantage of your conference discount!

Another group of PAR staff members will be heading to the National Career Development Association Conference (NCDA) in Phoenix, Arizona. Not only will we be giving our attendees a 15% discount and free ground shipping, we’ll also be giving out free Self-Directed Search (SDS) sample packs at our booth.

There will be two sessions at NCDA focusing on the revised SDS. "Development and Evaluation of Revised Self-Directed Search Materials and Online Reports" will be presented Friday, June 22, from 11:20 a.m. to 12:30 p.m., and "Using Self-Directed Search and My Next Move for Veterans" will be presented Saturday, June 23, from 10 to 11 a.m.

To see where we will be next, visit our Conferences and Workshops page.

Now available: The Young Children’s Achievement Test–Second Edition (YCAT-2)

If you’re looking for a test to identify young children who may be at risk for school failure, look to the new YCAT-2. This latest update yields an overall Early Achievement score as well as individual subtest scores for General Information, Mathematics, Reading, Writing, and Spoken Language. Each of the subtests can be administered independently and all can be transformed to standard scores, percentiles, and age equivalents.

The YCAT-2 was normed on a representative sample of 846 children representing 25 states and 226 different ZIP codes. Reliability was studied using coefficient alpha, test–retest, and interscorer procedures. The average coefficient alpha for the full normative sample ranges from .85 to .95 for the subtests and is .97 for the overall composite.

The YCAT-2 provides extensive validity evidence for content-description validity, criterion-prediction validity, and construct-identification validity. Visit our YCAT-2 product page for additional information or to order the YCAT-2 today!

New white paper: Using the ASD-DT with the PDDBI

PAR is proud to announce we have added a white paper on how to use the Autism Spectrum Disorder Decision Tree with the PDD Behavior Inventory to our website. This supplemental resource will help readers use the products for screening and intervention planning.

Customers can find the new white paper under the Resources tab on the PDDBI page or via this direct link.

The PDDBI: Autism Spectrum Disorder Decision Tree (ASD-DT) can help clinicians navigate the challenging path of a possible autism spectrum disorder diagnosis. Using scores from the PDDBI Extended Form, the ASD-DT can help identify an ASD subgroup or a non-ASD diagnosis. The ASD-DT and the PDDBI provide a standardized measure to help clinicians work through many possibilities to provide precise intervention recommendations.