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PostPosted: Mon Jun 17, 2013 12:15 pm 
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My DC has recently undergone 2 different reading tests, which resulted in a reading age difference of around 2 years in the results. One of the tests was the the Schonnel reading test which is used by the primary school and the other was called the ACCESS Reading Test which was used by a private tutor. I know the Schonnel test is simply a matter of the children reading words in sequence, whereas the ACCESS test seems to test a much wider range of things including comprehension and inference and I am told it is used in secondary schools. The Schonnel reading test gave the lower score by around 2 years on the ACCESS test. I know another child who had nearly a 5 year difference between the two tests.

I just wondered if anyone has any experience of the reliability of these tests? I'm not concerned about my child's reading as they are a very able reader. But I am puzzled as to why there are such widely varying scores on a supposed "reading age" produced by 2 different tests.


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PostPosted: Mon Jun 17, 2013 1:18 pm 
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It is the way these tests are interpreted that is usually wrong, not the tests. Some tests are probably not particularly reliably standardised if the sample population was too small or it was not a u k population. Others are too old for the standardisation to be reliable.

Rather than just the reading age you should be given the centile and the confidence interval, a description of what it tests, and an interpretation of your child's score and performance. Otherwise it is a waste of space. I can understand school not bothering to tell you much but the private tutor should be a bit more forthcoming. Why did they do the test?


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PostPosted: Mon Jun 17, 2013 1:42 pm 
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Thanks Mystery for your prompt reply. Well the private tutor only did it as there had been a mix up at school over the school's reading scheme when children (including my own) were incorrectly put back on the school reading scheme and then taken off scheme again. I have heard that the Schonnel reading test is very old fashioned and I don't know if it is still widely used these days? Funnily enough, my older child started Year 7 last September and also had a huge (3 year) increase in reading age when tested at secondary school as opposed to the reading age on the Schonnel test at primary. I don't think they used either of these tests though.

I don't take these tests scores seriously either. It makes little difference what exact "age" a child scores. I would only worry if a child was a poor reader and consistently gaining a low score.


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PostPosted: Mon Jun 17, 2013 9:45 pm 
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Yes I agree with you that some schools do bizarre things like place children somewhere in the reading scheme according to their reading age. They seem to conveniently forget that a different test could give a different reading age for the same child.

Equally it puzzles me on here when people say that evidence for an appeal panel could include reading age. Moral is to choose the test which gives your child the highest age?


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PostPosted: Tue Jun 18, 2013 12:31 pm 
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Yes it's a lesson on how unreliable tests can be. And "reading age" is indeed one of the academic markers that can be used in an 11 plus appeal here in Bucks. I think I read the age should be at least 2 years above chronological age. It makes me wonder why the tests are used. But then again, how else do they measure children's reading progress?

Also, what about "spelling age"? I was given a score for that at the last parents' evening. I wonder how reliable that test is.......


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PostPosted: Tue Jun 18, 2013 1:50 pm 
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I would say that a lot of the tests are reliable in the technical sense, but the results are misused by people who do not know enough about them.


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