Handbook of Reading Research

By P. David Pearson | Go to book overview

6
ASSESSMENT IN READING
Peter H. Johnston

This chapter examines the development and current status of the assessment of reading. While reading assessment is “as old as the first mother or teacher who questioned and observed a child reading” (Farr & Tone, in press), its documented development goes back only a short distance into the last century. The issues involved in the assessment of reading include (at least) the diverse areas of sociology, education, politics, philosophy, and all branches of psychology. The organization of such a chapter cannot be discrete, thus certain issues recur in different contexts in the various sections. The organization was selected on the basis of personal bias.

The chapter begins with a brief historical overview in which it is claimed that certain early developments set up a paradigm that all but determined our current assessment practices. As Haney (1981) comments, “… standardized tests appear to be social artifacts as much as scientific instruments” (p. 1030). The second section briefly addresses some often overlooked aspects of the construction and use of questions in assessment instruments. The third section describes some issues involved in the conflict between two opposing models of testing, and the fourth section discusses some issues involved in the concept of validity. The fifth section comments on trends in the deployment of assessment efforts.

Inertia and the various factors noted by Kuhn (1962) tend to allow us to maintain our basic paradigm without seriously evaluating it with a view to radical renewal. One constructive way for us to examine our current status is to challenge the assumptions of the existing paradigm, thus forcing a complete justification by those supporting the status quo. Consequently, the sixth section, in order to uncover some of the weaknesses in the state of the art, investigates where we might be now had we not pursued the current assessment approach. Finally, a brief summary is presented.

I am indebted to my colleagues Dick Allington, Peter Mosenthal, Fred Ohnmacht, David Pearson, and Jaap Tuinman for helpful comments on an earlier version of this paper, and particularly to David Pearson for getting me involved in it in the first place.

-147-

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Handbook of Reading Research
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page *
  • Contents v
  • Contributors ix
  • Foreword xix
  • Preface xxi
  • Part One - Methodological Issues 1
  • 1 - The History of Reading Research 3
  • Notes *
  • References *
  • 2 - Current Traditions of Reading Research 39
  • References *
  • 3 - Design and Analysis of Experiments 63
  • References *
  • 4 - Ethnographic Approaches to Reading Research 91
  • References *
  • 5 - Examples from Word Recognition 111
  • Notes *
  • References *
  • 6 - Assessment in Reading 147
  • References *
  • Part Two - Basic Processes: the State of the Art 183
  • 7 - Models of the Reading Process 185
  • Notes *
  • References *
  • 8 - Word Recognition 225
  • References *
  • 9 - A Schema-Theoretic View of Basic Processes in Reading Comprehension 255
  • References *
  • 10 - Listening and Reading 293
  • References *
  • 11 - The Structure of Text 319
  • References *
  • 12 - Metacognitive Skills and Reading 353
  • References *
  • 13 - Directions in the Sociolinguistic Study of Reading 395
  • References *
  • 14 - Social and Motivational Influences on Reading 423
  • Notes 443
  • References *
  • 15 - Understanding Figurative Language 453
  • References *
  • 16 - Individual Differences and Underlying Cognitive Processes in Reading 471
  • Notes *
  • References *
  • Part Three - Instructional Practices: the State of the Art 503
  • 17 - Early Reading from a Developmental Perspective 505
  • Notes *
  • References *
  • 18 - From Debate to Reformation 545
  • Notes 575
  • References *
  • 19 - Word Identification 583
  • References *
  • 20 - Research on Teaching Reading Comprehension 609
  • References *
  • 21 - Studying 657
  • References *
  • 22 - Readability 681
  • References *
  • 23 - Classroom Instruction in Reading 745
  • Notes *
  • References *
  • 24 - Managing Instruction 799
  • References *
  • 25 - Oral Reading 829
  • References *
  • Author Index 865
  • Subject Index 891
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