What Could Make Assessments for Reading Inaccurate?

May 2, 2023

Assessments for Reading

Reviewing a reading report from school could make a parent’s stomach drop if that report now reveals that their once proficient child is now reading two grades below expectations. Why is the child suddenly scoring so poorly in reading?

The shock could be especially pronounced if the child was reading on or maybe even above grade-level proficiency just months earlier. Before parents start to worry, they need to understand that those results could be flawed. What makes assessments for reading inaccurate? While the testing methodologies at school are reliable, a child could test poorly for a number of reasons including:

  • Illness
  • Lack of focus (and skipping medications that help them focus)
  • Fatigue
  • Being in a rush

Assessments for Reading

Assessment Reading Reliability: How Illness Can Skew Results

Sometimes parents send children to school when the child is ill or simply feels unwell. The child might not have fever, but they could have a sore throat, a headache or even a stuffy nose that makes them feel not great.

Productivity could be limited for adults during an illness, and children also might not be on their ‘A’ game when they feel unwell. Parents who are concerned about recent reading data that appears alarmingly low and out of the norm for the child might look at the test date. Was the child ill during this time?

If a child wasn’t feeling well, they might not have been able to perform at their normal ability. For this reason, the data could be skewed lower. If parents realize the child was sick on the testing day, they could ask for the child to be retested or simply wait for results from a later reading test. Some schools might schedule reading tests regularly throughout the school year.

Assessments for Reading

Reading Assessments: How a Lack of Focus Could Impact Reading Scores

Children with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) can be impulsive and have difficulty concentrating and staying on task. When the child is diagnosed, doctors might prescribe a stimulant medication that the child takes daily that helps the child focus and stay on task at school.

The mind of a child with ADHD works a bit differently. While a stimulant would make most other children hyper, these medications do the opposite for a child with ADHD.

Although these medications are helpful, children might not like taking them because of side effects. For some children, these medications make them lose their appetite. In addition, some children might simply be in a rush in the morning and forget to take their medication.

A child with ADHD who takes a reading test on a day when they missed their medication could have more difficulty concentrating on the test and focusing on the text. They might score lower for these reasons.

Even children who haven’t been diagnosed with ADHD could be distracted. Maybe there is another student in the classroom who was tapping a pencil or maybe the child is simply having an off day. They could be excited about the weekend, too.

A lack of focus or classroom distractions could cause children to perform worse on a reading test. However, the only way to understand if the test results were skewed is to review future test scores to better assess proficiency.

Assessments for Reading

Reading Assessment: A Good Night’s Sleep is Important

According to the Centers for Disease Control, children in elementary school (ages 6 to 12) need nine hours to 12 hours of sleep. A lack of sleep could cause them to underperform. If a child is tired, they might be unable to fully concentrate on lessons and accurately process information.

If parents know that a reading test is scheduled, they can make sure their child prepares for bed at a reasonable time. A child who doesn’t clock enough sleep won’t feel fully refreshed and could have difficulty tackling that reading test.

Rushing Through an Assessment of Reading

Some teachers schedule reading tests on a Friday. These tests also might be scheduled near the end of the school day. If a child’s mind is focused on an event after school or they are excited to head home and enjoy the weekend, they might rush through the test and simply not focus on doing their best.

However, children could decide to rush through the test for other reasons, too. Some children might simply dislike these tests and want to finish them as quickly as possible. Teachers might be able to see how long the child took to complete the test and they could realize that the child rushed through it.

Speed testing could result in lower scores. If parents are told that their child is rushing through a test and scoring low because of their lack of attentiveness, parents might need to talk to children about the importance of these assessments.

Really Great Reading Assessments: This Reading Assessment is Fast and Free

Some reading tests are designed to be quick. Children who tend to rush through reading assessments or who might have trouble focusing on assessments could prefer a shorter reading test. Readability offers a free reading assessment that takes only one minute for children to complete.

Parents begin the assessment process by selecting their child’s current grade level. The assessment can be used for children in kindergarten through sixth grade. Readability’s assessment requires that children use a device with a microphone; this could be a computer, smartphone or a tablet.

The assessment requires the child to read a section of text aloud. As the child reads, the program reviews it for accuracy, clarity and comprehension. The test only takes one minute.

Readability will analyze the child’s reading and provide a report to parents. The report will show the child’s reading level and provide parents with tips on how to help their child.

The reading assessment and its report are free for all parents to access. A subscription to Readability is not required to take the reading assessment.

Using the Readability Program to Help Children with Reading

After using the free assessment, parents might discover that their child is reading below their grade level. Parents can use the Readability program to help their child gain reading proficiency and work on their reading comprehension, too.

Readability can be used for children in kindergarten through sixth grade. The program includes an AI reading tutor that’s programmed with voice recognition software. With Readability, children read aloud books in their leveled library. As the child reads, the AI tutor learns their voice and can determine when the child needs help.

At the end of the book, the tutor asks the child questions to understand the child’s level of comprehension. However, if the child answers the question incorrectly, the tutor shows the child the section of the book that offers clues and reads it aloud. The child will be allowed another opportunity to answer the question.

Parents can follow their child’s progress via a private portal. This portal shows all the data for the child; parents can review their child’s comprehension, reading level and reading fluency (measured in words read per minute). The portal also shows how long the child used Readability.

Readability offers a free seven-day trial period for parents who want to explore the program with their child. Sign up for a free trial today and begin a new reading adventure powered by AI.