Standardized Reading Tests

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Woodcock Reading Mastery Test – III

Test of Written Language, Fourth Edition

Gray Oral Reading Test – Fifth Edition

Test of Reading Comprehension, Fourth Edition

Test of Phonological Awareness 2

Test of Written Spelling, Fourth Edition ~
I no longer formally assess using this as it is outdated, but the information in it is helpful!



On page 23 of the TORC-4 manual (2009), it states, "tests don't diagnose, people do."  It goes on to state that test results are merely observations, not diagnosis.  Results specify a performance level at a given time under a particular situation, but they do not tell the test administrators why a person performed the way he/she did.  Accurate diagnoses rest on the clinical skills and experience of those giving the test.



Age Range:  4:6 – 79:11; Grades K–12
Testing Time: 15-45 minutes
Administration:  Individual

The Woodcock Reading Mastery Test – III is comprised of 9 tests that can be evaluated individually or combined into 4 cluster scores:

Reading Readiness Cluster:  Letter Identification, Phonological Awareness, Rapid Automatic Naming.  This cluster takes approximately 15 minutes to administer.

Basic Skills Cluster:  Word Identification, Word Attack.  This cluster takes approximately 5 minutes to administer.

Reading Comprehension Cluster:  Word Comprehension, Passage Comprehension.  This cluster takes 15-20 minutes to administer.

Total Reading Cluster:  Basic Skills Cluster, Reading Comprehension Cluster and Oral Reading Fluency.  This cluster takes approximately 25 minutes to administer.  

The Listening Comprehension is the 9th test.  It is not part of any cluster.

Depending on the student's age or grade, the test could take 15-45 minutes to complete. The Discontinue Rule is 4 consecutive scores of 0, EXCEPT on First-Sound, Last-Sound and Rhyming on the Phonological Test ~ those 3 subtests should be completed.  The Basal Rule is 3 correct items, consecutive or not.  Any easier unadministered items can be assumed to be answered correctly.  For example, for a 3rd grade student, start testing at the 3rd grade point.  If the student fails to answer 3 correctly at that point, drop back to the preceding start point in order to answer 3 correctly.

LETTER IDENTIFICATION ~ This test, for students in grades PK-1, measures a student's ability to recognize letters presented in upper and lower case forms in random order.  The 17 letters are presented in a uniform, familiar font (sans serif). The ability to identify letters by name is highly predictive of later decoding skills.  This test takes 1 minute.

  • Student may give either letter or sound ~ both are marked as correct.
  • If the administrator does not hear an answer, at the end of the page, ask the student to repeat the entire row.
  • If the student does not respond after 5 seconds, have the student move on to the next item.
  • Discontinue after 4 incorrect answers in a row.
  • The average 4.6 year old will score about 5.  An average midyear kindergartener will score about 16.  By the end if grade 1, students should get all 17 correct.
  • If a preschooler or kindergartener gets all 17 correct, the administrator can move on to Word Identification, however, a standard score and percentile can't be reached, but age and grade equivalents can be calculated.


  • Students who score below will need explicit instruction in letter naming and identification; the student needs to learn the connection between letters and sounds. Teach letter forms WITH sounds.
  • Do phonological awareness activities to foster letter sounds.
  • Test the child on ALL letters and ALL sounds.  The WRMT-III does not include all letters.
  • If the child is in 1st grade and did poorly on Word Identification and Word Attack as well, he may have an issue with letter sound knowledge.

PHONOLOGICAL AWARENESS ~ This test, for students PK-2, measures a student's awareness of the phonological components of language.  Phonological awareness is the ability to hear and manipulate the individual sounds, or phonemes, that make up words.  It is strongly associated with the development of skilled reading, and is highly predictive of later decoding ability.  Children who understand that spoken words are composed of a series of discreet sounds that can be manipulated are more likely to become skilled readers than children who are unable to hear and manipulate individual sounds within words. The test is divided into five sections: First-Sound Matching, Last-Sound Matching, Rhyme Production, Blending, and Deletion.  These tests take 9 minutes with a total of 33 items.

First-Sound Matching:  The stimulus book is used.  The administrator points to and names a stimulus word depicted with art on the student's side of the stimulus book.  The administrator then names 2 or 3 items pictured on the bottom of the student's stimulus book and asks the student to name or point to the item that has the same first sound as the main picture. 

Last-Sound Matching:  The stimulus book is used.  The administrator points to and names a stimulus word depicted with art on the student's side of the stimulus book.  The administrator then names 2 or 3 items pictured on the bottom of the student's stimulus book and asks the student to name or point to the item that has the same last sound as the main picture. 

Rhyme Production:  The student is prompted to name a real or made-up word that rhymes with a given word.

Blending:  The student must combine phonemes or syllables and identify the word they create.

Deletion:  The student is prompted to say the word that is created when one phoneme or syllable is removed from the beginning or ending of a stimulus word.

  • If after 5 seconds the student does not respond, say "Give it a try," then move on to next item.
  • On First-Sound Matching and Last-Sound Matching the administrator must point to the stimuli pictures as they are named.
  • On the Rhyme test, answers may be nonsense words.
  • Discontinue testing when the student has 4 consecutive scores of 0 for Blending and Deletion.  All items are administered for First-Sound Matching, Last-Sound Matching and Rhyme Production.
  • An average 4.6 year old will score 8 out of 33, while an average midyear 2nd grader will score 29/33.


  • A low score on Phonological Awareness with a low score on Word Attack for a grade 1 or 2 student strongly suggests explicit instructional focus on phonological awareness is needed.
  • If the scores differ, it might suggest a deficit in phonological awareness that may be inhibiting the development of decoding skills.
  • If the student is low in both Phonological Awareness AND Rapid Automatic Naming, the possibility of a double-deficit is strongly suggested.  These children need explicit instruction in phonological awareness, decoding, and lots of rereading of text.
  • If scores for Phonological Awareness and Letter Naming are similar and both low, these skills can be taught combined.  
  • Phonemic Awareness activities can be found here.  Phonemic/Phonological Awareness
  • Teach Phonological Awareness areas in which there was an error rate of 50% or more if the standard score was 90 or lower.

RAPID AUTOMATIC NAMING ~  This test, for students PK-2, measures the speed and accuracy in which the student is able to name a set of familiar stimuli.  RAN tasks are highly predictive of decoding performance.  Naming speed is hypothesized to reflect access and retrieval of phonological information from long-term memory and/or general processing speed. The importance of the ability to rapidly name numbers and letters is related to automaticity of word recognition, an essential concept in reading.  This timed test is made up of Object and Color Naming for preschoolers, and Letter and Number Naming for kindergarten through 2nd graders.  The student is shown a stimulus card displaying a grid of 36 randomly repeated stimuli.  The ability to retrieve the names of things from one's lexical store has been found to be related to reading ability among early readers.  Along with phonological awareness, rapid automatic naming is a component of the "double-deficit hypothesis" which proposes that a deficit in either of these interferes with learning to read and that deficits in both produce an additive effect (p. 72).  This test takes 4 minutes.

  • First administer the untimed trial in the stimulus book.
  • Student should be told the correct name to use, however if they do not, still mark it as correct if it is similar, for ex. "kitty" for "cat."
  • If a student gets stuck during the test, after 5 seconds say "Go on to the next one."
  • There is no discontinue rule; finish the test.
  • Kindergarteners who did not get past the untimed trial on Number or Letter Naming, or they received 4 or more errors on it, can do the Color and Object Naming.
  • A score of 4 or more errors cannot be calculated.
  • An average 4.6 year old will score 12 on Object and Color Naming.  A midyear kindergartner will score about 20 on Number and Letter Naming, and an average midyear second grader will score about 34.


  • Poor scores on the RAN indicate the need for broadly based intervention programs that target a variety of skills such as phonological awareness, letter-sound correspondence, and word identification.
  • Low scores suggest a difficulty with acquiring proficiency in decoding and basic sight-word vocabulary.
  • Poor naming speed may be impeding the development of word identification and decoding skills.
  • Check to see if the Phonological Awareness score is also low as a possible double-deficit.
  • Students should get instruction in phonological awareness, decoding, sentence understanding and fluency rather than in naming speed alone.  The goal is to increase speed of letter recognition by focusing on predictable letter patterns, and gradually introducing onset-rimes, consonant blends, digraphs and affixes.
  • Children should also get instruction in word identification.

WORD IDENTIFICATION ~ The student reads words in isolation of increasing difficulty, regardless of comprehension of the words.  Context-free, automatic word identification is a mark of a good reader.  When words are recognized automatically, the reader can focus on comprehension.  This test takes 2 minutes, and is for grades 1 and up.  This test consists on 46 items.

  • If the administrator does not hear an answer, wait until the child has completed the page, and ask him to repeat the row.
  • If the student does not respond after 5 seconds, have him move on.
  • Discontinue after 4 incorrect answers in a row.
  • An average midyear 1st grader will score about 14, and average midyear 12th grader will score about 40.
  • Track 29 of the audio CD has the correct pronunciations for the administrator to listen to before hand.


  • A low score on this test necessitates high frequency word instruction.  The best way to teach this is through wide reading ~ oral, silent, and independent.
  • Say the word, write it, chant its spelling.
  • Word cards and word sorts are effective.
  • Low scores on Word Identification are often coupled with low scores on Oral Reading Fluency.
  • Make instructional decisions via 3 tests:  Word Identification, Word Attack, and Oral Reading.
  • There is an Error Analysis Worksheet to categorize word identification errors.

WORD ATTACK ~ The student reads nonsense words of increasing difficulty,using the alphabetic and syllabication rules of the English language.  The test measures the student's ability to apply phonological and structural analysis skills to unfamiliar words. Phonological decoding, or the processing of printed letters and letter patterns into sounds, is characteristic of the reading process at all skill levels.  This particular test is highly sensitive to reading problems.  This task simulates the real-life task of a person encountering an unknown ~ but real ~ word.  The test begins with simple vowel-consonant combinations and concludes with multi-syllabic nonsense words to determine a student's ability to apply structural analysis skills.   This test takes 2 minutes, and is for students grade 1 and up. The test consists of 26 items.

  • If the student does not respond after 5 seconds, tell him to try the next item.
  • If the administrator does not hear the student's response, wait until the student has completed the page, and ask the student to repeat the entire row.
  • Discontinue after 4 consecutive scores of 0.
  • An average midyear 1st grader will score about 7.  An average midyear 12th grader will score about 23.
  • Track 30 on the audio CD has the correct pronunciations for the administrator.


  • Low scores suggest the need for phonics instruction.
  • Low scores on this test, as well as on Word Identification, suggests a student that has not learned letter-sound correspondence.
  • A student who scores higher on Word Attack than Word Identification suggests a student that decodes everything, even familiar words.  A student who scores higher on Word Identification than Word Attack suggests a student who has memorized words but can't decode them.
  • Phonics instruction should focus on reading words, not learning rules, and be integrated with reading passages.
  • Teach phonograms (the vowel and letters after it), rather than individual sounds.  See:  Rimes, Not Rhymes.
  • Teach decoding by analogy, for example ~ hat, flat would have similar pronunciations.
  • Make instructional decisions via 3 tests:  Word Identification, Word Attack, and Oral Reading.
  • There is an Error Analysis Worksheet to categorize word identification errors.

LISTENING COMPREHENSIONThis test measures the ability to comprehend spoken language and includes items that test both literal and inferential comprehension skills. There is a close connection between the comprehension of spoken and written text in that both involve a common set of language processes.  Oral and written language share the same vocabulary, grammar, and syntax.  Language skills are the strongest predictor of reading achievement, with strong correlations existing between oral language skills measured in preschool and kindergarten and later reading ability.  This test evaluates whether fundamental language skills are intact. Very often, struggling readers are limited to the text that they can decode and are denied exposure to the rich concepts and complex language present in higher-level text.  Students listen to each passage and answer questions about its content.  The test consists of 27 items:  the first six the examiner administers by reading aloud, and the remaining 21 are administered via audio CD.  This test takes 12 minutes.

  • For students in grades 1-4, the administrator should read Sample Item A aloud.
  • For those in grades 5 and up, and any younger students who reach item 7, administer Sample Item B using the audio CD.
  • Passages may not be repeated, and questions may be repeated one time only.
  • Give the student up to 15 seconds to answer.  Ask him to "Give it a try," and then move on.
  • Discontinue after 4 consecutive scores of 0.
  • If a student answers correctly, but rambles on demonstrating misunderstanding ~ he receives a score of 0.
  • An average midyear 1st grader will score about 6.  An average midyear 12th grader will score about 22.


  • A low score means the student needs higher-level language and more complex concepts.
  • Employ repeated readings, shared reading, echo reading, and partner reading of higher level text.  Focus on comprehension ~ the author's purpose, message, new vocabulary, comprehension strategies ~ and not decoding.
  • If the scores on Listening and Reading Comprehension are different, with Reading being lower, it might imply the student is having trouble with written text.  If the opposite is true, perhaps the student is having trouble with attention difficulties due to lack of advanced texts.
  • In Listening Comprehension, there is no rereading.
  • Use error analysis to determine the types of errors ~ literal or inferential, or narrative vs. expository issues.
  • The administrator can determine if errors involved syntax, prior knowledge, or semantics as well as if picture prompts helped or not, and length of responses.
  • Instruction should focus on moving student away from pictures and single sentences and exposing the student to longer text.

WORD COMPREHENSION ~ This test measures reading vocabulary from three different levels of cognitive processing in the form of Antonyms, Synonyms, and Analogies.  There are 23 Antonym items, in which the student reads a word, and supplies the appropriate opposite, 23 synonyms, in which the student reads a word, and supplies the appropriate synonym, and 40 analogies, in which the student reads a pair of words and ascertains the relationship between the pair of words and the first word of a second pair of words.  Words can be understood at a variety of levels; more advanced levels of understanding are associated with more effective readers.  Association means the student can associate a word with other words, even if the meaning is unknown.  Comprehension is knowing the meaning of the word, and can provide a definition, synonym, or antonym.  Generation means using the word in a novel way.  In the WRMT-III, Antonyms and Synonyms assess comprehension, and Analogies represents generation.  This test takes 10 minutes, with a total of 86 items.

  • Encourage the student to read the test words aloud.
  • Only single-word responses should be counted as correct; ask for a one word answer.
  • Answers are considered correct if they vary in verb tenses or noun singular or plurals, however the answer is INCORRECT if it shifts parts of speech!  For example, if the student answered "carelessly" which is an adverb, but the correct answer is "careless" which is an adjective, the student would be incorrect.
  • Discontinue after 4 consecutive scores of 0.
  • An average midyear 1st grader will score about 10.  An average midyear 12th grader will score about 57.


  • Similar scores on Word Comprehension and Passage Comprehension suggests instruction in word meaning can affect passage comprehension.
  • Teach students to sort and categorize words, note similarities and differences between words, create word maps and diagrams, compose sentences and connect words to personal experiences.
  • Draw words from extended texts, rather than word lists.
  • Read aloud from texts beyond what the reader can read independently.
  • CHECK THIS OUT:  Grade level Marzano list -LA_ SS_ Sci_ M  .  Word lists aren't ideal, but this site lists all words children should know by grade level in each of the content areas.
  • A low score on this test may mean the student could not decode the test items, so also consider the Word Attack and Word Identification scores.

PASSAGE COMPREHENSION ~ This test measures the student's ability to study a sentence or short passage (2-3 sentences long) and exercise a variety of comprehension and vocabulary skills in identifying a missing word.  It is a modified cloze procedure that uses a blank line to represent the missing word.  In order to complete the item, the student must understand not only the sentence containing the blank, but the other sentences in the passage as well.  A correct response demonstrates that the student comprehended the entire passage. The first 15 items have picture support, and there are 38 items in all.  This test takes 7 minutes.

  • Students must read the passages silently.  If a student continues to read aloud, ask him to read silently, but do not insist ~ just ask him to, but let it go.
  • Accept only 1 word responses.
  • If after 15 seconds student does not respond, say "What word belongs in the blank space."  Then move on to the next item.
  • Discontinue after 4 scores of 0.
  • An average midyear 1st grader will score about 9.  An average midyear 12th grader will score about 30.


  • Similar scores are often noted on Listening Comprehension, Passage Comprehension, and Word Comprehension.  A higher score on Listening and/or Word and a lower score on Passage may suggest something other than word knowledge is impeding text comprehension, such as limited syntax knowledge, an inability to connect meaning across 2-3 sentences, lack of background knowledge, or lack of drawing inferences.
  • An average score on Word Identification, Word Attack and Word Comprehension, but a lower score on Passage Comprehension might be due to difficulties with sentence structure, syntax, or poor memory.
  • Instructional focus should be on longer passages and development of different question formats, making inferences, noting text structure, and self-questioning during reading.
  • If the Listening score is higher than the Passage score, there may be a word identification/background knowledge issue.
  • Incorrect responses can be evaluated by semantics and grammar by using the error analysis sheet.
  • Instructional interventions in passage comprehension should focus on meaning of prepositions and conjunctions, morphemes that signal number, tense, degree, and that change parts of speech.  Sentence combining skills should be taught, which will lead to comprehending longer, more complex sentences.

ORAL READING FLUENCY ~ This test measures the ability to fluently integrate learned reading abilities such as decoding, expression, and phrasing.  Immediate identification of sight words and effortless decoding of unfamiliar words allows the reader to attend to comprehension.  A lack of reading fluency is a reliable predictor of reading comprehension problems.   Fluency comprises 3 elements:  the ability to decode accurately, the ability to decode words easily and automatically, and the ability to read with appropriate prosody (patterns).  The student reads passages from 80-200 words in length.  While the student reads aloud, the administrator records errors, and rates fluency in 3 categories:  expression, phrasing, and smoothness.  The raw score is based on words read correctly per 10 seconds.  Students in grade 1 are assigned 1 passage.  Students in grades 2 and up are assigned 2 passages.  This test takes 4 minutes.

  • Administer passages based on grade or age, not reading level.  1st graders read Passage A only, and grades 2 and up read 2 passages.
  • This is not a traditional timed test.  The student should read in a natural (not rushed) voice.
  • Begin timing when the student reads the first word.
  • Students may use their finger to track, but they may not lay the stimulus book flat.
  • If the student skips a line or loses his/her place, continue timing, but redirect.
  • Stop testing when the student completes the designated passage or passage set for his grade or age.
  • If the passage set is too difficult ~ if the student's completion time exceeds the grade-specific time limit ~ drop back 2 passages.  Keep doing this until the student completes a scorable set of 2 passages.  The administrator can either have the student complete the passage he is struggling on, or cease testing and drop 2 levels.
  • An average midyear 1st grader should score about 6.  An average midyear 12th grader will score about 54.


  • Fluency is developed through supportive activities that provide guidance and feedback during oral reading.
  • Repeated and monitored oral reading has a significant effect upon word recognition, fluency, and comprehension.
  • Read aloud to students, foster wide reading, engage in various forms of oral reading such as assisted reading, repeated reading, echo reading, paired/partner reading and performance reading.
  • Is the student focusing on individual words or comprehending larger units of text?
  • Expression, phrasing, and smoothness are only possible in the student that is comprehending. 
  • Was the miscue similar to the word in print with regard to letter-sound patterns? This means the student is attempting to apply sound-symbol relationships.
  • Does the miscue change the meaning of the sentence?  This means the student is more tuned in to pronunciation than meaning.
  • Is the student self-correcting?  If so, this is a good sign that the student is reading for meaning.
  • Compare errors on this test with the errors on Word Identification and Word Attack.



Ages:  9-0 through 17-11
Testing Time:  60-90 minutes
Administration:  Individual or Group

The TOWL-4 is a comprehensive diagnostic test used to identify students who have problems in writing and to determine the degree of the problem.  The test can be used to help qualify individuals for special remedial services or to justify placements in different instructional settings (p. 7).

Writing is the most desirable and most complex form of human communication.  It is desirable because it is the hallmark of literate people and it is complex because it comprises many interrelated cognitive, linguistic, and orthographic elements (p. 1).

Written language:  comprehension and expression of thoughts through the use of characters, letters, or words that are etched, traced, or formed on the surface of some material.  There is written language and spoken language.  Written language, like spoken language, can be receptive or expressive.  Receptive and expressive spoken language are listening comprehension and speech; receptive and expressive forms of written language are reading and writing.  The TOWL-4 measures the expressive form of written language ~ writing.

The TOWL-4 has 7 subtests.  Subtests 1-5 use contrived, traditional formats.  Subtests 6-7 use a spontaneously written story to assess important aspects of language.

Subtest 1 Vocabulary ~ The student writes a sentence that incorporates a stimulus word. Using a word properly is more consistent with everyday use, rather than just defining a word. The administrator cannot read any word aloud for the student, nor can the student change the tense of the word.  The subtest ceases when the student writes 3 incorrect sentences in a row.  Misspellings, nonstandard English, problems in grammar, punctuation and capitalization are not counted as errors.  Look for the stimulus word being used correctly with regard to part of speech and meaning.

Subtest 2 Spelling ~ The student writes sentences from dictation, taking particular care to make proper use of spelling rules.

Subtest 3 Punctuation ~ The student writes sentences from dictation, taking particular care to make proper use of punctuation and capitalization rules.  When dictating the sentences for subtests 2 and 3, use the emphasis indicated by punctuation.  Pause between reading sentences; each sentence can be read twice.  Stop testing when the student has missed 3 items in a row for both spelling and punctuation.  The sentences should be written exactly as stated, but minor substitutions are acceptable.  The Spelling and Punctuation subtests are scored separately.  The student receives a 1 in each area per sentence for no errors, or a 0 in either area, or both, for 1 or more errors.

Subtest 4 Logical Sentences ~ The student edits an illogical sentence so that it makes better sense.  Stop testing when the student misses 3 items in a row.  This test measures both cognitive and syntactic components of writing.  Disregard any spelling, punctuation, or capitalization errors; fragments receive 0 points. 

Subtest 5 Sentence Combining ~ The student integrates the meaning of several short sentences into one grammatically correct sentence.  Stop testing when the student misses 3 items in a row.  Spelling, punctuation, and capitalization errors are disregarded.  The combined sentence must be grammatical, unambiguous, and graceful ~ any awkward sentences such as Tom is big and he is a man receives a score of 0.

Subtest 6 Contextual Conventions ~ The student writes a story in response to a stimulus picture.  Points are earned for satisfying particular arbitrary requirements relative to orthographic and grammatic conventions. Do not score subtests 6 and 7 if the story is less than 40 words long.  Scorers need to read the story several times while scoring.  The scoring form is actually in the booklet.

Subtest 7 Story Composition ~ The student's story is evaluated on the quality of its composition based on the following:


  • Sentences begin with a capital letter.
  • Multiple paragraphs are used, and they are indented.
  • At least 2 sentences per paragraph.
  • Quotation marks that are used correctly.
  • Commas to set off direct quotations.  (Mary said, "Hello.")
  • Correctly uses an apostrophe at least once ~ can't, dog's, students'
  • Uses a question mark.
  • Uses an exclamation point.
  • Capitalizes proper nouns, including the title.
  • Has limited misspelled words.
  • Uses an asterisk, ellipse, hyphen, parentheses, brackets.
  • Does not include fragments.
  • Does not include run-on or rambling sentences.
  • Uses compound sentences ~ 2 complete sentences connected by a conjunction, colon, or semi-colon; both sentences must have a subject and a verb.
  • Uses coordinating conjunctions other than and when forming compound sentences ~ uses but, or, nor, for, yet, so.
  • Uses introductory phrases or clauses ~ Of course. . .   When I look back. . .
  • Noun-verb agreements.
  • Uses a variety of well-constructed compound and complex sentences.
  • Uses big words (over 7 letters) and spells them correctly.
  • Uses multi-syllable words and spells them correctly.
  • Uses a and an appropriately.


  • Has a grabbing, engaging beginning.
  • Refers to a specific event.
  • Moves smoothly and coherently from start to finish.
  • Uses an intriguing, well-crafted storyline.
  • Characters show strong emotion.
  • The story action is exciting and compelling.
  • The story ending is clever and inventive.
  • The writing has artful style.
  • The story is unique, engaging and grabbing.
  • The story uses specific, detailed vocabulary to describe.
  • Use of vocabulary is mature, rich, and figurative.



Ages: 6-0 through 23-11
Testing Time: 15-45 minutes, in 1 or 2 sessions
Administration: Individual

The GORT-5 has 4 purposes:  (1) to help identify students who are significantly behind their peers in oral reading and to determine the degree of the problem, (2) to discover oral reading strengths and weaknesses, (3) to monitor progress in special intervention programs, (4) to be used in research in studying school-aged students.

Start at the following grade levels:  

  • Grades 1-3 start at Story 1
  • Grades 4-5 start at Story 2
  • Grades 6-9 start at Story 4
  • Grades 10-11 start at Story 5
  • Grade 12 and up start at Story 6


Basal ~ Fluency score is at 9 or 10 for 2 consecutive stories.

Ceiling ~ Fluency score is 2 or less for 2 consecutive stories.

If the student does not obtain a basal on the first 2 stories, testing continues until a ceiling is reached.  After the ceiling is obtained, return to the story preceding the entry level story, and administer stories in reverse order.  All stories below the basal are given full credit.  Several basals can be achieved; the basals closest to the ceilings are the true basals.  ALL STORIES BELOW THE BASAL ARE GIVEN FULL CREDIT.

Rate ~ the amount in time in seconds taken for the story to be read aloud.

Accuracy ~ the number of words the student pronounces correctly when reading the passage.

Fluency ~ the combination of rate and accuracy scores.

Comprehension ~ the number of questions about the story that the student answers correctly.  Take the Student Book away from the student before asking the questions. The student is not allowed to look back at the stories for help.  If the answer calls for a 1 word answer, and the student responds with more than 1 word, mark as incorrect.

Oral Reading Index ~ composite score formed by fluency and comprehension scaled scores.

  • If the student skips a line, stop the timer and redirect; this is counted as 1 error.  Do not stop the timer when giving a word.
  • If more than 20% of the words had to be given, do not ask comprehension questions; give a score of 0.
  • Give the student the word after a 5 second pause.
  • If the student attempts to decode, give him 10 seconds only, then say the word.  If he decodes an incorrect word, do not tell him the correct word.
  • Put a slash on each deviation from print, or record actual miscues for more in-depth analysis.

If the administrator is doing a miscue analysis, there are 5 categories:  Meaning Similarity, Function Similarity, Graphic/Phonemic Similarity, Multiple Sources, and Self-Correction.  Additions, omission, and reversals are not included when doing miscue analysis. To use the system, analyze the miscues on at least 2 different stories, with a minimum of 25 errors.  You can even go to a story above the ceiling to accumulate 25 miscues, but don't administer the comprehension questions to that higher story.  Even if a student self-corrects, you can analyze the original miscue on the chart.  Add up each category. To get the percentage, divide the number of categorical miscues by the total number of miscues, then multiply by 100.  For example, if the sum in 1 column is 7, 7/25 x 100 – 28%.

%5CProdImages%5C12830 TORC-4 kit


Age Range: 7-0 to 17-11 years
Testing Time: 45 minutes or less
Administration:  Individual

The TORC-4 is based on the premise that reading comprehension is reading itself; it is not merely one of the many reading skills.  We only read TO comprehend. Good comprehenders always relate their prior knowledge to what they read.  They constantly interpret text structure, clarify its meaning, critique, compare, contrast, organize, and summarize what is being read.  They identify main ideas, draw inferences, and make predictions. Good readers use these strategies simultaneously and efficiently, but around grade 3, some students exhibit problems because words and texts become increasingly more difficult ~ texts have varying nuances and complexities.

The 5 TORC-4 subtests were built to measure word identification and contextual meaning as opposed to more theoretical aspects of reading such as predicting, inferring, summarizing.  Any one of the individual subtests is a good predictor of reading comprehension.  The combined subtest results offer a powerful estimate of an individual's reading comprehension ability.

The TORC-4 is used to:  (1) identify children and adolescents who score significantly below their peers and who therefore might need help in improving their reading proficiency and comprehension;  (2) to document student progress; (3) to serve as a research tool in studies investigating reading problems in children and adolescents

Relational Vocabulary ~ measures the reader's understanding of sets of vocabulary items that are all related to the same general concept.  The student reads 3 words that are related to each other in some way.  Then the student silently reads a list of 3 words and chooses 2 words that are related to the original 3 words.   CEILING:  3 in any 5 consecutive items that are incorrect. When the directions are given and after 2 attempts, the student still cannot do the example problem correctly, do not administer the subtest.  In order to get credit, the student must have both answers correct.  The rationale behind this subtest is that vocabulary knowledge is critical to reading comprehension because (1) we read and understand through our knowledge of word meanings (2) vocabulary is embedded in specific topics, and knowledge of topics aids comprehension (3) vocabulary, reading, and general intellectual ability are correlated; more cognitively able individuals can deal with more cognitively demanding tasks.

Sentence Completion ~ measures the reader's understanding of the relationship between sentence structure, vocabulary, and implied context. The student silently reads a sentence that is missing 2 words.  Then the student silently reads word pairs and chooses the word pair that best completes the sentence.  CEILING:  3 in any 5 consecutive items are incorrect.  When the directions are given and after 2 attempts, the student still cannot do the example problem correctly, do not administer the subtest.  Good readers know which words do and do not make sense as they read. They are often able to predict from context the word or words that will make sense.  At the sentence level, readers should be able to identify which words will complete a sentence so that it is semantically and syntactically complete and meaningful.  The format is this subtest is the "cloze procedure."

Paragraph Construction ~ measures the reader's ability to construct meaningful paragraphs from a set of sentences by placing the sentences in a logical order. After silently reading a list of sentences that are not in logical order, the student rearranges the sentences to make the most sense.  CEILING:  The student scores fewer than 3 points on any 2 consecutive items beginning with item 4.  The first 4 items are administered regardless of performance.  When the directions are given and after 2 attempts, the student still cannot do the example problem correctly, do not administer the subtest.  Reading comprehension requires that individuals understand how ideas in sentences relate to each other and how syntactic cues help determine such relationships.  By ordering sentences into a sensibly constructed paragraph, readers demonstrate their ability to create a coherent cognitive framework in the absence of a model or a title. 

Text Comprehension ~ measures the reader's ability to answer questions about the content of stories in a series of passages that become progressively more difficult in their vocabulary, grammar, and content.  Students silently read a short passage and then answer 5 multiple choice questions related to the passage.  CEILING:  Any 3 consecutive questions that are missed.  If the student is incorrect on any of the example items, give the correct answer and explain why.  This subtest format is a traditional format in assessing reading comprehension. This test has students answer based on the text only; they do not need prior knowledge. The students are told to first read the questions, and then read enough of the passage to answer the questions.  Reading the questions first is an excellent test taking strategy that good readers use.  In real life situations, we read just enough to get information; individuals rarely read all of the material.  The question types are as follows:

  1.  The "best" title must be selected, based on the overall theme.
  2.  Story details are recalled.
  3.  Students must make an inference.
  4.  A negative inference is required ~ the student chooses what could NOT go with the  story.
  5.  Story details are recalled.

Contextual Fluency ~ a 3 minute test that measures the reader's ability to distinguish words in a continuous string of letters by dividing a line between words.  Measures the speed in which students can recognize the individual words in a series of passages that become progressively more difficult in their content, vocabulary, and grammar.  The passages are printed in upper case letters without punctuation or spaces between words. Students identify words by drawing a line between words for 3 minutes.  NO CEILING. During the example task, if the student is obviously having difficulty and not comprehending the task, do not test.  If the student understands the task, and takes the subtest but skips a row, re-adminster the subtest.  Fluency is a major and essential aspect of reading comprehension.  The passages used in this subtest come from the Text Comprehension subtest.  This is done so the student is likely to have some familiarity with the content of the passages.  This is consistent with the belief that familiarity of context plays a key role in reading.

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Age Range: 5-9
Testing Time: 40 minutes 
Administration:  Individual

The Phonological Awareness Test 2 is a standardized assessment of children's phonological awareness, phoneme-grapheme correspondences, and phonetic decoding skills.  Test results help educators focus on those aspects of a child's oral language that may not be systematically targeted in classroom reading instruction.


The TOPA 2 assesses all of the pre-reading skills that are early indicators of reading success.  This test is used to identify children who lack explicit phonological knowledge and have difficulty acquiring sound/symbol correspondences in words.

Test Description:  TOPA 2 assesses a student's awareness of the oral language segments that comprise words (i.e., syllables and phonemes).   The test is comprehensive and includes a wide variety of tasks; performance on each of these tasks has been correlated with success in early reading and spelling.  The straightforward, developmental format lets one easily tease out specific skills and plan effective interventions. 


  • Rhyming:  Discrimination and Production—identify rhyming pairs by saying yes/no and providing a rhyming word for a stimulus word.
  • Segmentation:  Sentences, Syllables, and Phonemes—clapping for each word heard in a sentence, clapping for each syllable heard in a word, and segmenting words into their individual phonemes as in /c/ /a/ /t/.
  • Isolation:  Initial, Final, Medial—identify sound position in words by answering, "What is the _____ (beginning/ending/middle) sound in the word ______."
  • Deletion:  Compound Words, Syllables, and Phonemes—manipulate root words, syllables, and phonemes in words by answering items such as, "Say mailman. Say it again but don't say mail."  "Say cat.  Say it again but don't say /c/."
  • Substitution With Manipulatives—isolate a phoneme in a word, then change it to another phoneme to form a new word using different colored blocks which represent different sounds.  For example, 3 different colored blocks represent the word "cat."  To change "cat" to "cot" the center block would need to be swapped out with a new color. 
  • Blending:  Syllables and Phonemes—blend units of sound together to form words by the administrator pausing between syllables, and pausing between phonemes.  For example /c/ pause /a/ pause /t/ pause would be "cat."
  • Graphemes—assess knowledge of sound/symbol correspondence for consonants, vowels, consonant blends, consonant digraphs, r-controlled vowels, vowel digraphs, and diphthongs by reading the graphemes off of flashcards.
  • Decoding—assess  general knowledge of sound/symbol correspondence to blend sounds into nonsense words by reading nonsense words off of flashcards.
  • Invented Spelling (optional)—write words to dictation to show encoding ability

Test Procedures:  

  • All subtests are administered (Invented Spelling is optional).  There are no basals or ceilings.
  • A demonstration item is given for each subtest.
  • If it is apparent that a student is unable to perform a task, administration of that task is discontinued, and a score of 0 is given for items not administered in that task.
  • Directions are read aloud to the student and are printed on the test form.
  • Spiral bound stimuli booklets (included in the test) are used with the Graphemes Subtest and Decoding Subtest.
  • Eight color cubes (included with the test) are used for the Substitution Subtest.




Age Range: 6.0-18.11
Testing Time: 20 minutes 
Administration: Can be whole class

The purpose of the TWS-4 is to:

  • Identify students whose spelling ability is deficient enough to call for direct instruction in spelling.  
  • To document overall improvement in spelling after intervention.
  • To serve as a measure of research designed to track spelling achievement in individuals with different learning disabilities. 


  • The ability to spell is a sought-after outcome of language arts instruction.
  • When students spell poorly, they often have related problems with higher level aspects of writing such as formulation of ideas. choice of words to express concepts, and use of punctuation symbols to mark features of word and sentence structure.
  • Extrinsic factors affecting spelling achievement include the frequency with which the correct spelling is practiced, systematic spelling instruction, and teacher and parent expectation.  
  • Intrinsic spelling factors include the student's underlying language processing capacity.
  • Disorders of spelling are expected in cases of specific reading difficulty, individuals with specific written language disorders, as well as individuals with attention-based learning problems.
  • Teachers must identify patterns of spelling errors.
  • When a word is spelled, all of the information about a word is activated in the memory system ~ the sounds, syllables, letter patterns, and meaningful associations.
  • There are phonological (sound patterns), orthographic (letter sequences), morphologicial and semantic (meaning) associations when spelling words.
  • The links between phonemes and graphemes are strengthened as they are practiced.


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Compiled by:  Araujo, Judith E., M. Ed., CAGS. "Standardized Reading Tests." Mrs. Judy Araujo, Reading Specialist. N.p., 30 June 2016. Web. <>.

Graphics from Google Images.  Right click on them.


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