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An Observation Survey of Early Literacy Achievement
Developed and researched by Marie Clay, the Observation Study (OBS) has been widely used to assess the emergent literacy behaviors of children. The assessment includes a variety of tasks such as letter name knowledge, book handling, word writing and dictation that help teachers determine a child’s current development and offers direction for subsequent instruction. The assessment has been normed in a variety of contexts. The scores that will be reported here will those those of 282 urban children in New Zealand ages six to seven years and three months in 1978. Consequently, the norms are not generalizable to most contexts, but are useful for determining a general developmental stage. These norms are reported in stanines. A stanine score places children on a one to nine scale. Stanines four through six are considered “average” achievement. Thus, on the OBS assessment the stanine represents the general order of achievement as children age from six years to seven years and three months. A score of nine represents the score that the most skilled emergent readers in this group would have achieved.
Observational Survey Results
Sub-test Score Stanine
Concepts About Print
Hearing and Recording Sounds in Words (Dictation Task)
Degrees of Reading Power (DRP)
The tests of the Degrees of Reading Power (DRP) program are holistic measures of how well the messages within text are understood. As much as is possible in a testing situation, DRP tests determine how well a student reads under "real life" conditions in and out of school. The DRP tests are single-objective tests measuring how well students understand the surface meaning of what they read. DRP tests are genuine criterion-referenced measures. The tests measure student reading ability on an absolute scale. With the range of scores reported it is possible to precisely place students in reading materials that fit their reading ability.
The DRP scores presented here will be interpreted several ways. The first interpretation will be a general indication of the "grade level" textbooks the student will be likely to be able to read independently and with instructional assistance. The second interpretation will be titles of specific tradebooks that fall within the client's independent and instructional reading ranges. The final interpretation will suggest a correspondence between the client's DRP scores and a percentile rank score indicating his/her standing in comparison to peers.
DRP Reading Level Scores
Independent Instructional Frustration Percentile Rank
Date of administration:
Discussion: [Most of the explanation for how to interpret the scores is provided above. You will need to help anchor the scores in real tasks. You may use the “average DRP score” of textbooks at a grade level. This number is available in the DRP Handbook. Include the DRP scores of books typically used in the client’s school. Lists of textbooks and novels used in Boise and Meridian are available. The lists of books that you will recommend appears later.]
Sunshine Informal Reading Inventory
The Wright Group
The Sunshine Informal Reading Inventory is similar to other informal reading inventories but evaluates more precisely early reading ability. Most informal reading inventories have two or three levels to assess beginning readers (Preprimer, primer and 1st grade). These divisions are too broad for usefully placing early readers in appropriate materials. The Sunshine Inventory uses the Fountas/Pinnell leveling system of ranking books in an alphabetical order using the letters A-I to rank order the difficulty of books from kindergarten through grade 1. A representation of these levels in comparison to traditional reading levels and grade levels is presented in table X.
Book Level Equivalence Chart
Reading Stage Grade Fountas/Pinnell Level Basal Reader Level
1 A Readiness
1 C PP1
1 D PP2
1 E PP3
1 F Primer
Transitional 1 H 1
2 J 2
The criteria used to determine independent, instructional and frustration levels is similar to those of traditional IRIs with the exception that the criteria for word recognition accuracy is somewhat lower than the traditional criteria. This is based on the professional belief that emergent readers have to tolerate a slightly larger number of unknown words initially because they cannot be expected to know many words at all. Following is a summary of Powell’s criteria for recommended levels for 1st grade (beginning) readers
Reading Level Word Recognition Accuracy Comprehension Percentage
Independent 94% 80%
Instructional 89% 55-80%
Frustration Less than 89% Less than 55%
The Sunshine Assessment uses a global rating of complete, adequate and limited to describe the reader’s ability to retell information about characters, events and settings rather than using a percentage of answers.
Sunshine Informal Reading Inventory
Level Word Recognition Accuracy
Date of Administration:
Flynt-Cooter Reading Inventory
The Flynt-Cooter Reading Inventory generally follows the format of traditional informal reading inventories. Students are asked to read leveled sets of sentences to help identify a starting level. Students read these sets until making two or more errors in a set of sentences. Once the starting level is established (the last level at which no errors occurred), students are asked to read silently, a series of leveled reading passages. Once the passage is read, a measure of reading comprehension is completed. After the comprehension measure students are asked to read a 100 word section aloud. Measures of oral reading accuracy are derived from this brief oral reading of material that has previously been read silently. It should be noted that this is a different procedure than is used in most IRIs. The Boise State University Reading Center uses traditional criteria for the establishment of independent or “easy”, instructional or “adequate”, and frustration or “too hard” reading levels. The independent level is that level at which students are able to read the passage with 99% or higher total word recognition accuracy and 88% or higher comprehension. The instructional level is that level at which students are able to read the passage with 94 to 98% total word recognition accuracy and 50 to 89% comprehension. The frustration level is that level at which students read with 93% or lower total word recognition accuracy and less than 50% comprehension. For the purpose of more completely describing students' reading behaviors, the sentence reading score and the reading rate are also reported in the following table. Comprehension is measured first as free recall--a students' ability to independently retell a story or passage without the use of examiner-posed questions. After a student has finished retelling the story, the examiner may, if necessary, pose the traditional comprehension questions if the student has not already answered them in his or her free recall.
Flynt-Cooter IRI Scores
Sentences Reading Passages
Sentence Word Recognition Comprehension Rate(WPM)
Level Errors Type Accuracy Free Recall Total Silent Oral
Date of Administration:
Discussion: [Identify the independent, instructional, and frustration levels. If the client’s scores do not reach the criteria for each of these levels report only those levels for which you have scores. In other words, don’t assume that if your client has scores at the 1st reading level that meet the criteria for instructional level reading do not claim that primer level materials are independent level reading unless you have actually obtained scores that confirm that.]
Tradebook Reading Inventory and Miscue Analysis
Because of the sometimes artificial nature of a commercially published informal reading inventory, clients participating in the Reading Center program also complete at least one tradebook reading inventory (or selected components of it). This inventory involves reading aloud from a tradebook at the clients' instructional reading level (when at all possible). The reading levels according to the Fry, DRP and the Lexile readability formulae are reported (or publisher estimates when available). Readability estimates are always an imprecise measure of a book’s “readability" but do serve as an indication of the vocabulary load and sentence length of the materials.
In addition to word recognition accuracy, comprehension, and rate scores, a miscue analysis of the reading "errors" made by students is completed. This analysis permits an interpretation of the types of cueing systems the client uses while reading. The scores reported under the columns labeled "graphophonic similarity" serve as an indication of the client's ability to use phonic analysis to decode unfamiliar words. The scores reported in the columns labeled "acceptability" indicate the degree to which the client uses syntactic (grammatical) and semantic (meaning) cues to decode unfamiliar words. The scores in the column labeled "self-correction" provide a further indication of the client's ability to use the overall meaning of the passage to "fix-up" momentary decoding problems. The column labeled "combined cues" represents the client's ability to use syntactic and semantic cues and self-correction to produce an accurate reading of the text.