Why Aren’t All Tests Timed?

The reading tests that are timed (1 minute), such as Phoneme Segmenting, Letter Names, Letter Sounds, Word Reading Fluency, and Passage Reading Fluency are meant to glean a quick look at what a student knows. In those reading tests where time is a factor, the goal is to get a snapshot sample of what a student knows such as phonics, letter/word recognition and fluency (can a student fluently read a word or a passage or not).

The multiple-choice reading comprehension, vocabulary, and math progress monitoring tests, which can be taken online, are not timed. Because the Proficient Reading measures target literal, inferential, and evaluative comprehension of lengthy reading passages, they represent the most challenging aspects of reading because they require some very nuanced reading of the stories. For this reason there is no set time a student is required to complete a test though generally students finish in about 30-45 minutes. For universal screening of students using the benchmark assessments, we recommend adopting standardized test administration times for the computer-administered tests: 15 minutes for Vocabulary, 20 minutes for Basic Reading, 30 minutes for Math, and 45 minutes for Proficient Reading. Although some students will not finish within these time limits, providing additional time for them to take the screening assessments is unlikely to change their risk rating. Of course, if an IEP stipulates that extended time must be given on assessments, it is important to grant that extra time.

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