Reading Success Lab
Phone 877-286-2801

Software FAQ's : Assessment

Will your assessment tell me something that all of the other testing we have gone through did not?

Would you please describe the assessment process?

How long does it take to run an assessment?

Can I break up an assessment or does it have to be done in a single sitting?

How young can a child be to be tested with your system?

If I know my child has a problem reading do I need to test or should I simply start with intervention activities?

Do I have to have a microphone to perform the testing?

Why does there need to be someone present to score responses?

How does the Assessment measure both speed and accuracy of responses?

After I perform the testing how do I obtain the results and how do I use the results?

What information is included in your Assessment Report?

Can I use the assessments to measure a child's progress or to measure the effectiveness of an intervention strategy?

What is grade level percentile and how is it used in your testing?

Will your assessment tell me something that all of the other testing we have gone through did not?
Indeed it will. Because our assessments measure the degree of automaticity on the different skills that are required for proficient reading, our assessments can pinpoint where in the process of reading automaticity is breaking down. Intervention activities can then be focused at the identified weak point. In addition by looking at the pattern of proficiency across all of the tasks in an assessment, well on certain ones and poorly on others, a number of reading problems can be identified.

Would you please describe the assessment process?
An assessment consists of 3, 5 or 8 tasks depending on which assessment is performed with each task focusing on a single reading skill. These tasks start with simple skills and range up through comprehension on most assessments. All of the tasks work essentially the same way. An item is presented on the screen [e.g. word identification] or through the speakers [e.g. listening comprehension]. The student makes his/her response out loud or by clicking onscreen buttons and the computer measures how long it took the student to respond. A scorer flags the response as correct or not by clicking the different mouse buttons. The process repeats until all items in a task have been presented, responded to and scored. Some tasks are organized by difficulty. For example, the Word Naming Task is organized with words consisting of 3 letters, followed by 4 letters, and then 5 & 6 letters. If any task becomes too difficult for a student, the task can be terminated and you can continue to the next task.

How long does it take to run an assessment?
The pre-reading assessment should take about 30 minutes. The other assessments will take between 1 and 2 hours depending on the student and how many breaks are taken.

Can I break up an assessment or does it have to be done in a single sitting?
An assessments consist of 3, 5 or 8 tasks. The assessment may be suspended at the end of any task and resumed at a later time or date.

How young can a child be to be tested with your system?
We have testing appropriate for children of kindergarten age and up.

If I know my child has a problem reading do I need to test or should I simply start with intervention activities?
Knowing the source of a problem often makes it easier to come up with a strategy to deal with the problem. It would be important to test your child if you are trying to get services for your child at a school. You can use the report from the Assessment to support your request for services. However, it may be appropriate to skip the assessment and go straight to Intervention Exercises. Our Skill Builder Interventions, which focus on sight recognition and work effectively with most common reading problems

Do I have to have a microphone to perform the testing?
No microphone is required. You may use a microphone when performing the assessment tests. If a microphone is used, the software starts a stop watch when an item is displayed and stops it when speech activity is detected at the microphone, measuring how long it took the student to answer. An alternative to the microphone is the use of a SPACEBAR press as the student speaks his/her answer. No microphone is used with the Skill Builder Interventions.

Why does there need to be someone present to score responses?
There does need to be someone present to score any task that requires a microphone or SPACEBAR press response. The only tasks that do not require a microphone/SPACEBAR are the comprehension tasks. Even if a microphone is used, the computer cannot reliably detect what was said. Speech recognition software has not developed to the point where the little subtleties in speech that make an answer incorrect can be detected. A “scorer” must be present to indicate the correctness of responses. This person does not need to be a trained professional, just someone that is a competent reader at the level being tested. Paraprofessionals, aides or volunteers often can perform this task.

How does the Assessment measure both speed and accuracy of responses?
Our Assessment software measures both the time it takes to respond and the accuracy of the response for each task item in an assessment. In all of the tasks the computer starts a stopwatch with the presentation of an item and stops the stopwatch when the person responds, measuring the response time. For spoken responses, the system may be configured to either use a microphone or a SPACEBAR press as the student speaks as the event that stops the timing. A second person, the scorer, indicates whether the response was correct by clicking the left mouse button or incorrect by clicking the right mouse button. Once the computer has detected the person's response, the time taken has been measured. The time taken to score the response with the mouse is completely irrelevant. Take your time scoring!

After I perform the testing how do I obtain the results and how do I use the results?
Upon completing an assessment, the software generates a detailed report based on the student's performance on the assessment tasks, both in accuracy and speed, and on a set of questionnaire item pertaining to background information for the student. This report is 8 to 10 pages in length and is completely customized for the student based on the particulars of the testing results and questionnaire information. This report is printable and even editable and can be regenerated at any later time. This report is a very good starting point if you are trying to get services for your child at a school.

What information is included in your Assessment Report?
The main sections of the report are:

  1. Background
  2. Assessment Information
  3. Interpretation of Background information
  4. Cognitive Testing Results
  5. Overall Interpretation
  6. Intervention Plan
  7. Next Steps

View Sample Reports

Can I use the assessments to measure a child's progress or to measure the effectiveness of an intervention strategy?
This is an excellent use of the Assessment System. We recommend initially performing a Full Assessment that usually consists of 8 tasks. Following that we recommend performing a Progress Assessment which consists of the core tasks, shown below, at regular intervals.
Word Naming
Nonsense Word Naming
Word Meaning
Sentence Understanding

Because the actual tests are different every time they are administered they may be administered frequently. In the testing the software calculates grade level percentile which is a measure of how a child's performance compares to other students in the same grade. The software can create reports and graphs displaying a student's progress over time. By examining the grade level percentile of performance over time one can evaluate the effectiveness of an intervention strategy. For an intervention strategy to be effectively working the student's percentile scores need to be rising indicating that the student is closing the gap relative to peers.

What is grade level percentile and how is it used in your testing?
Grade level percentile is a measure of how a particular score compares to the scores of other children in the same grade on the same test. The percentile scores range from 1 [lowest] to 99 highest and a score that is 50th percentile is exactly average. For example a score in the 59th percentile would mean that the score is as good as or better than 59% of the scores for other children in the same grade. The results of our testing are typically reported as percentile scores.

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