NotesFAQContact Us
Search Tips
ERIC Number: ED499410
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 2007-Sep
Pages: 25
Abstractor: ERIC
Student Think Aloud Reflections on Comprehensible and Readable Assessment Items: Perspectives on What Does and Does Not Make an Item Readable. Technical Report 48
Johnstone, Christopher; Liu, Kristi; Altman, Jason; Thurlow, Martha
National Center on Educational Outcomes, University of Minnesota
This document reports on research related to large-scale assessments for students with learning disabilities in the area of reading. As part of a process of making assessments more universally designed the authors examined the role of "readable and comprehensible" test items (Thompson, Johnstone, & Thurlow, 2002). In this research, they used think aloud methods to better understand how interventions to improve readability affected student performance. Decreasing word counts in items and making important words bold did not seem to make any difference in student achievement (although students preferred that important words were printed in bold). Vocabulary, however, was a notable factor. Non-construct vocabulary in both the stem and answer choices of items caused difficulty for students as well as words with negative prefixes (e.g., "dis"). Implications for this research are that readability is correlated with vocabulary (see Rand Reading Study Group, 2002) and that construct and non-construct vocabulary must be clearly defined in order to increase accessibility of assessments. (Contains 2 tables.)
National Center on Educational Outcomes. University of Minnesota, 350 Elliott Hall, 75 East River Road, Minneapolis, MN 55455. Tel: 612-626-1530; Fax: 612-624-0879; e-mail:; Web site:
Publication Type: Reports - Research
Education Level: Grade 8
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: Office of Special Education (ED), Washington, DC.
Authoring Institution: National Center on Educational Outcomes, Minneapolis, MN.