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Rochelle’s Special Education Tips

Are We Testing Reading Comprehension or Listening Comprehension?

Schools do get some good data from the mountains of tests being administered nowadays. But not always. Take, for instance, the use of a human reader on tests given to evaluate the ability to read. Using PARCC English Language Arts (“ELA”) results to identify a student’s reading comprehension when the test is read aloud to the student is, quite frankly, absurd. It is also terribly misleading to tell parents that a child’s reading level is “X” when a human reader is in the picture. It is the expectation of parents, as well as judges and the average citizen, that when a school team states that a student is reading a passage at a particular grade level, that means that the student can independently read the passage and comprehend what is read. If the student can comprehend what is read aloud, that is measuring listening comprehension, not reading comprehension.

IEP teams need to be clear about whether the discussion is about a child’s reading comprehension or listening comprehension. Are you measuring fluency or comprehension? And are you measuring these things based on a student’s independent reading level or the instructional level of the class? Please be specific.

Rochelle’s Special Education Tips (“Tips”) are designed to be helpful and thought provoking, but should not be considered legal advice as they may not be accurate for use in all situations. Tips are based on my opinions and positions in accordance with federal and Maryland law and my over 35 years of experience in the special education legal field. – Rochelle S. Eisenberg, Esquire
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