A document reporting on research related to large-scale assessments for students with learning disabilities in reading. The researchers examined the role of "readable and comprehensible" test items that could make assessments more universally designed, using think-aloud methods to better understand how interventions to improve readability affect student performance. Reducing word counts in items and making important words bold did not seem to affect student achievement but vocabulary did. Students had difficulty with non-construct vocabulary in both the stem and answer choices of items as well as with words that have negative prefixes (e.g., dis). This suggests that readability correlates with vocabulary and that construct and non-construct vocabulary must be clearly defined in order to make tests more accessible.
The Center is supported through a Cooperative Agreement (#H326G050007)
with the Research to Practice Division, Office of Special Education Programs,
U.S. Department of Education. This report was supported by a
grant (#H324D020050) from the U.S. Department of Education, Office
of Special Education Programs, Directed Research Division. Opinions
expressed herein do not necessarily reflect those of the U.S. Department
of Education or Offices within it.
Thurlow, Martha; Altman, Jason; Liu, Kristin; Johnstone, Christopher.
Student Think-Aloud Reflections on Comprehensible and Readable Assessment Items: Perspectives on What Does and Does Not Make an Item Readable (NCEO Technical Report).
University of Minnesota, Institute on Community Integration, National Center on Educational Outcomes (NCEO).
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