ERIC Number: ED315555
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 1988
Reference Count: N/A
Reading Assessment: Autonomous and Pragmatic Models of Literacy. LC Report 88-2.
Hill, Clifford; Parry, Kate
The autonomous model of literacy--including its two features autonomy of text and autonomy of skill, which have been particularly influential in reading assessment--does not account for important aspects of reading. The pragmatic model of literacy accounts more adequately for how readers respond to text. An analysis of the 1976 and 1987 versions of the Test of Adult Basic Education (TABE) shows that although the newer version does encourage a pragmatic orientation to text, most of the items still require an autonomous orientation. As a result, there is often a marked discontinuity between passage and items. Sometimes discontinuity is further reflected within the items themselves: the target response requires an autonomous orientation whereas one or more distractors have a pragmatic appeal. Such distractors provide the kind of orientation that the passage calls for, even though they do not strictly fit with the surface information that the passage provides. A better approach to reading assessment would be based on the notion of multiple literacies suggested by John Black. Tests like the TABE should include separate components to cover autonomously oriented and pragmatically oriented material. Within these components the items should be constructed so that readers can be clear about which orientation to adopt. If external instruments like the TABE are used at all, it is best to view them as a single component within an ethnographic model of assessment and instruction that is designed to nurture the various literacy skills that adults need. (The document includes a 50-item bibliography.) (CML)
Publication Type: Reports - Research
Education Level: N/A
Sponsor: New York State Education Dept., Albany.
Authoring Institution: Columbia Univ., New York, NY. Teachers Coll. Literacy Center.
Identifiers - Assessments and Surveys: Test of Adult Basic Education