Development of a novel approach to assessing reading comprehension
Development of a novel approach to assessing reading comprehension
June 26, 2018

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.

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