Reading for Understanding — Assessments
Our intent is to build Reading for Understanding assessments with features and characteristics such as these:
- Scenario-based — To date, we have designed dozens of computer-delivered assessment prototypes and hundreds of items. Each assessment uses a scenario-based approach to structure its set of items and tasks — that is, students are given a realistic purpose for reading a collection of diverse materials as they make decisions and solve problems.
- Technology-rich — The materials range from traditional informational texts, fiction and biographies (for example) to the kinds of materials that students encounter in technology-rich environments: email, websites, blogs and multimedia. Students might be asked to respond to email, evaluate web sites or post to simulated blogs. To help model and improve reading skills, empirically based reading strategies are incorporated into the assessments.
- A Focus on Collaboration and Communication — Collaboration and communication skills are supported and tested with the use of simulated peers in the assessment. For example, test takers “interact” with simulated peers to identify errors, repair misconceptions and provide feedback on products of learning.
- Meaningful Structure and Sequence — Tasks and activities are structured and sequenced to help scaffold performance for less skilled readers and provide more information on potential student strengths and weaknesses. Performance moderators such as background knowledge and motivation are also measured and can be used to help interpret the reading score.
- Component Measurement — Associated component reading skill tasks (such as word recognition, decoding and vocabulary) have also been developed to further understand or qualify the performance of students who may have basic reading skill difficulties that interfere with their comprehension performance.
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Watch a presentation from ETS's R&D Forum about the Reading for Understanding initiative (Flash, 50:51).