Reading tests do not measure question-answering skills. Old-style test prep won’t work!
By Tim Shanahan
- Reading comprehension tests do not measure question-answering skills, but instead estimate how well students can read particular kinds of texts with understanding.
- PARCC and SBAC are pointedly avoiding making claims that their assessments will reveal whether students are meeting particular standards, but instead provide an overall estimate of reading comprehension.
- Reading comprehension tests measure how well students read texts, not how well they execute particular reading skills.
- So, item analysis is not an effective strategy for improving reading comprehension.
- PARCC and SBAC tests are, won’t they be able to provide specific diagnostic information.
5 Steps to making students sophisticated and powerful readers:
- Have students read extensively within instruction.
- Have students read increasing amounts of text without guidance or support.
- Make sure the texts are rich in content and sufficiently challenging.
- Have students explain their answers and provide text evidence supporting their claims.
- Engage students in writing about text, not just in replying to multiple-choice questions.
- Good instruction and literacy instruction are one in the same.
- Reading increasingly complex text, with appropriate support, improves reading comprehension.
- Writing about what you read improves reading comprehension.
- Students cannot become better readers by listening to teachers talk.
- Reading and writing should be purposeful and teachers should hold students accountable for gaining knowledge and understanding from what they are asked to read.
- Students writing should be persuasive in nature and they should be asked to make claims and provide supporting evidence from text.
- Teacher constructed assessments should use fewer multiple-choice items and should require students to read and write about the text.