How to Decode a Reading Diagnostic Assessment

April 4, 2023

Reading Diagnostic Assessment

The benchmark reading levels for children change with each grade. Throughout the school year, children typically advance their reading level. By the end of the year, teachers expect children to read at a certain level to demonstrate proficiency. Diagnostic assessments that gauge reading proficiency are administered by some districts regularly during the year; parents might receive these reports to alert them of their child’s progress.

A reading diagnostic assessment can include different literacy data points, but sometimes these reports can be overwhelming to dissect. Here’s how to decode a reading diagnostic assessment and understand if a child is meeting grade-level literacy expectations or if they are struggling to read fluently and proficiently.

What’s in a Reading Report?

Each school district might utilize different reading programs to gauge reading proficiency and understand each child’s reading growth and their reading levels, too. One of the most common literacy testing programs is called Star Reading.

This program is timed, and school districts might use Star Reading to measure each student’s literacy progress throughout the year. After the child completes the test, a report is generated that includes different data. Star Reading reports can include:

  • Percentile rank
  • Reading level (noted as grade and month and/or Lexile)
  • Reading growth
  • Proficiency and concerns

Reading Diagnostic Assessment

What is the Percentile Rank?

Star Reading reports can include the student’s percentile rank. This is how well a child scores in relation to other students in the state at the same grade level. For example, a child who scores in the 75 percentile reads better than 75 percent of other children at the same grade (in the state).

A child who scores in the 50th percentile isn’t failing; in fact, this might simply denote an average or on-target reader. However, a child with a low percentile rank might be falling behind in literacy expectations.

Understanding Reading Level

Star Reading reports also might include the child’s reading level. This can be denoted as a number. A score of 5.6, for example, would denote that the child was reading at a level associated with the sixth month of fifth grade; the first number relates to the grade level, while the number behind the decimal point denotes the month of the school year. The decimal point score helps parents better track how well the child is reading in correlation to their grade level.

Star Reading reports also could include a Lexile associated with the best reading levels for the child; however, not all reports might include a Lexile.

Reports Can Show Reading Growth

Some districts provide a Star Reading report that shows parents their child’s reading growth from one testing period to the next. This helps parents understand if their child is making sufficient reading gains.

Reading reports also might include tracked scores from multiple grades. This can help parents assess reading growth over time.

Understanding Reading Proficiency and Gauging Concerns

Not all school districts include every detail in a Star Reading report. However, teachers or districts could include a bar that helps parents better understand their child’s level of proficiency and help parents better understand if the school has concerns.

This bar will note if a child is ‘on watch’ or in need of immediate intervention. The bar also could show if a child is on target or reading at a beyond proficient level.

If reports consistently show that there are concerns related to the child’s reading level/proficiency, parents might wish to contact the school to inquire about intervention or additional help. Schools could have a plan for children who have shown reading struggles or who are failing to meet benchmark literacy expectations.

Reading Diagnostic Assessment

Other Reading Assessments

Not all school districts might utilize Star Reading. In addition, parents might feel that they are in the dark about their child’s reading proficiency. Can parents decode their child’s reading level at home?

Readability offers a free reading assessment to accurately measure a child’s reading level and their comprehension ability, too. Parents can utilize this assessment to quickly understand their child’s reading level and find out if their child needs additional reading help.

The assessment is simple, but parents need access to a computer, tablet or phone that has a microphone. There are three steps to the assessment process:

  • Select the child’s grade level
  • Perform a short reading assessment
  • Review the reading report/analysis

Readability’s free reading assessment is designed to be used for children in grades kindergarten through fifth grade. To begin the assessment, parents should select their child’s current grade level.

Next, Readability will prompt the child to read a section of text aloud. This is why children need access to a device equipped with a microphone. This reading assessment will take one minute.

After the child finishes reading the section aloud, Readability will provide a report that includes the child’s reading level and their comprehension ability. Readability’s report also will include tips and advice to help children, too.

While the assessment is quick and simple, it is designed to measure a child’s current reading level. Parents can review the report to understand if their child is reading at the appropriate grade level.

Helping a Child Who Is Reading Below Grade Level

The Readability assessment could reveal that the child is reading below grade-level. Again, the report provides parents with information and tips for helping their child. In addition, parents also could explore the Readability reading tutoring program.

This reading program can be used by children in kindergarten through sixth grade. Readability is designed to guide children who struggle with decoding and comprehension skills. The program features a 24/7 built-in reading tutor that is programmed with voice-recognition intelligence. The tutor learns each child’s voice.

Readability provides a library of books for each child’s reading level. Children read books aloud, and as the child reads, the tutor measures their fluency (words read per minute). The tutor also can identify if the child is struggling and provides help. At the end of each book, the tutor also tests the child’s comprehension with a series of questions about the book.

Parents will never wonder if their child is progressing via Readability, as the program offers parents their own private portal to review their child’s reading data. Via the portal, parents can review their child’s current reading level, their reading fluency and comprehension mastery, too. The portal also shows parents how long the child used the program.

Readability updates the parent portal as the child progresses through the program. In this way, parents always have an updated reading assessment report. Parents also can collate their child’s reading data into a separate reading report that can be emailed to the child’s teacher.

While Readability is designed to help children gain reading proficiency, the program also offers numerous tools that aid the reading adventure. Each book includes a list of vocabulary words to help children expand their word knowledge; children also can tap any word in the story to hear the definition or hear the word used in a sentence.

Readability offers a feature called Storytime. This feature lets children listen to their favorite Readability books; children can follow along in the book as they listen to the story.

Parents who use Readability’s reading assessment tool to better understand their child’s reading ability can explore Readability for free by signing up for a free seven-day trial period. This free offer gives children access to all of the program’s features including the AI tutor. Sign up to learn more about the program today!