ERIC Number: ED209653
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1981-Oct
Reference Count: 0
How Accurate Are Oral Reading Tests?
Schell, Leo M.
Errors in oral reading tests result from inaccuracies that tend to creep in because children are not totally consistent while taking a test and from inaccuracies caused when the examiner does not catch a word recognition error, giving credit for an answer that is more wrong than right or vice versa. Every test contains a standard error of measurement (SEM), indicating how much an individual's score is likely to fluctuate on repeated testings. Some standardized oral reading tests also report this, but SEMs are almost totally ignored by authors of informal or standardized oral reading tests. An examination of recently published informal reading inventories revealed that three of five did not mention that the obtained score was not totally accurate and dependable. In the other two, only a sentence or two at the end of the manual hinted that the results might need to be verified. The same also is true of two recently revised standardized oral reading tests. Studies have shown how subjective the scoring of oral reading tests is and the amount of examiner error these scores contain. The score one receives definitely depends upon who is doing the scoring. Reading instructors should abandon the idea that a score on an oral reading test represents a point on a continuum and substitute for it the more reasonable notion that the score lies within a band of scores at least a grade level in range. (HOD)
Publication Type: Opinion Papers; Speeches/Meeting Papers
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Note: Paper presented at the Annual Meeting of the Plains Regional Conference of the International Reading Association (9th, Des Moines, IA, October 22-24, 1981).