ERIC Number: ED368210
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1994
LEP Readers: Standardized Testing versus Informal Testing.
Skinner, Robert E.
The merits and disadvantages of standardized and informal reading tests for limited English proficient readers are discussed. A growing reliance on standardized ("formal") tests due to their ease of administration and scoring is criticized because the tests are seen as: inadequate for describing students at high and low ends of the scale; not readily interpreted for this population; requiring too much independent work or background knowledge; culturally biased; and generally valid or reliable in some aspects but not in others. "Informal" testing is found advantageous because: it can occur over a variety of contexts, skills, and focal points; provides learning and low emotional and academic risk; and uses varied measurement techniques, selected for their appropriateness to the situation and population. Examples and supporting data are drawn from recent research. It is concluded that formal testing has multiple limitations and should be used with great caution. A trend toward individualized testing, as through student portfolios, is seen as positive, while comparison among individual readers is viewed as counterproductive. In addition, it is proposed, reading assessment should be a learning opportunity, relevant to the individual's progress, which can only be accomplished with informal, non-standardized testing. (MSE)
Publication Type: Reports - Evaluative
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A