Improving Comprehension Assessment for Middle and High School Students: Challenges and Opportunities

  • John SabatiniEmail author
  • Yaacov Petscher
  • Tenaha O’Reilly
  • Adrea Truckenmiller
Part of the Literacy Studies book series (LITS, volume 10)


For decades, standardized reading comprehension tests have consisted of a series of passages and associated multiple-choice questions. Although widely used in and out of the classroom, there continues to be considerable disagreement regarding how or whether such tests have net value in the service of advancing educational progress in reading. This chapter begins with a review of features that characterize standardized reading assessments. In particular, we discuss how assessment designs and analytics reflect a balance of practical and measurement constraints. We then discuss how advances in the learning sciences, measurement, and electronic technologies have opened up the design space for a new generation of reading assessments. Abstracting from this review, we end by presenting some examples of prototype assessments that reflect opportunities for enhancing the value and utility of reading assessments in the future.


Assessment Measurement Computer adaptive testing 



The research reported here was supported in part by the Institute of Education Sciences (IES), U.S. Department of Education, through Grant R305F100005 to the Educational Testing Service (ETS) as part of the Reading for Understanding Research (RfU) Initiative. The opinions expressed are those of the authors and do not represent views of the Institute or the U.S. Department of Education or ETS. We are extremely grateful to the IES and ETS for sponsoring and supporting this research. We would like to also like to thank Matthias von Davier, Michael Kane, and Don Powers for their intellectual insights and thoughtful comments; and Jennifer Lentini and Kim Fryer for their editorial assistance.


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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing Switzerland 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  • John Sabatini
    • 1
    Email author
  • Yaacov Petscher
    • 2
  • Tenaha O’Reilly
    • 1
  • Adrea Truckenmiller
    • 2
  1. 1.Global AssessmentEducational Testing ServicePrincetonUSA
  2. 2.Florida Center for Reading ResearchFlorida State UniversityTallahasseeUSA

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