What is the difference in the reading measures for Basic and Proficient Reading? Why is only one of these measures used to determine the risk level?

The Proficient Reading measures are more difficult and designed to directly align with grade-level standards, assessing students’ skills around literal, inferential, and evaluative aspects of reading comprehension.  Thus, the Proficient Reading measures serve as a broad-based screener for all students across the reading comprehension ability continuum.

The Basic Reading measures include three subtests, Short Literary Text, Informational Text, and Read to Perform a Task, organized together into a comprehensive Basic Reading Assessment.  The Basic Reading measures are easier than the Proficient Reading measures and are designed for students who are persistently struggling with reading comprehension and are consistently low-performing on the Proficient Reading measures, relative to their peers. The Basic Reading passages are quite a bit shorter, and more simplistically written.  Here is an excerpt from the Basic Reading technical report on these measures’ development (http://files.eric.ed.gov/fulltext/ED545264.pdf):

“The easyCBM [Basic] reading assessments are intended to provide educators with accessible measures to assess students’ reading comprehension. As part of the suite of reading assessments available on the online easyCBM learning system (Alonzo, Ulmer, Tindal, & Glasgow, 2006), the easyCBM [Basic] reading measures are designed to provide a bridge between the easyCBM Passage Reading Fluency (PRF) measures and the lengthier and more cognitively challenging easyCBM [Proficient] Reading Comprehension (PRdg) measures. They were developed to include both benchmark / screening and progress monitoring assessments.”

Ideally, all students Grade 2-8 would be screened using the Proficient Reading measures, with persistently struggling/low-performing students then screened and progress-monitored with the Basic Reading assessments.  Proficient Reading progress-monitoring measures would thus be used with those students who are much closer to meeting grade-level reading comprehension expectations.

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