This is a printer friendly version of the page you were just visiting.
Click here to return to original page format (please do not use the "Back" button in your browser).
Assessment Strategies and Reading Profiles

Three Reading Profiles

Assessment Is More Than a Silent Reading Test

Reading profiles are essential tools for designing instruction for the learners in your classroom. Let's look at three reading profiles to see how this works. The three reading profiles given below are taken directly from the ARCSRR research; we have changed the names of the learners to protect their privacy.

First, here are the profiles in a table. All scores are given in grade equivalents (GE).

Reading Component       Andrew           Barbara              Carla

Silent Reading Comprehension




Word Recognition








Word Meaning (Vocabulary)




As the table above shows, Andrew, Barbara, and Carla have identical Silent Reading Comprehension scores of GE 8.0, but they have different abilities on the other components. Each learner needs a different focus of instruction to become a better reader.

The line graph below better illustrates these learners' differing abilities. A descriptive narrative about each of these learners is given below the graph.

Shows assessing silent reading not enough

Andrew is a native Spanish speaker whose pattern of scores shows good decoding ability with fairly even scores on the other components. His high Word Recognition score is typical of many literate native Spanish speakers. Because Spanish is perfectly phonetic, decoding is not difficult—all words are regular. Andrew, like other native Spanish readers, applies the same decoding process when learning to read English words. However, he also has learned sight words (non-phonetic words) and recognizes syllable patterns as shown in his high Spelling score. Andrew attended school in Mexico through the 12th grade, coming to the U.S. at age 20. Andrew, now 22, has made excellent progress in the two years that he has been learning English in the United States. Andrew needs to increase his English vocabulary through direct instruction and independent reading. He learns quickly and could be expected to pass the GED examination within a short time. Because Andrew almost completed high school in Mexico, he already possesses a good deal of the Background Knowledge he will need for the GED. He has only to learn the English words for concepts he learned in Spanish pertaining to the GED content areas of social studies, literature, and math.

Barbara's pattern of scores shows a dyslexic's profile; there is a significant difference between her low scores on Print Skills (Word Recognition and Spelling) and higher scores on Meaning Skills (Word Meaning and Silent Reading Comprehension). Barbara, age 54 and a native speaker of English, has had a history of reading problems since the first grade. She left school after the 8th grade and has just begun attending reading classes in the past two years. Her vocabulary levels, both on the DAR Word Meaning subtest and on a test of listening vocabulary (the Peabody Picture Vocabulary Test) are high enough to support her present silent reading comprehension level. However, unless she can learn to decode more difficult words, she will not be able to read with comprehension at a high school level. Her best hope for progress is with an individualized, sequential phonics program such as Lindamood or Wilson along with continued independent reading.

Carla's pattern of scores is also one of low Print Skills and higher Meaning Skills. However, the difference between these abilities is not significant and not unlike that of many adult intermediate readers. Carla, age 33, is a native speaker of English who left school after the 10th grade. She reports that she repeated the second grade but did not have trouble with reading in school. Her low Print Skills contradict her self-report; other tests given in the ARCS show that Carla has low word analysis skills and only a beginning reader's ability to isolate sounds of letters and syllables. She would benefit from a systematic approach aimed at filling in the gaps in her reading skills. Primarily she needs stronger Print Skills. A Word Analysis test such as Sylvia Greene's Informal Word Analysis Inventory would indicate the letter combinations she has mastered and which need to be learned. Carla's is a profile of a reader with some reading disability but also with a need for wider vocabulary knowledge. She has attended a few other programs for short periods of time, which raises issues of motivation and persistence that should be addressed.

Learner questionnaires covering a learner's language and educational history are a key part of any assessment. Important information about Andrew, Barbara, and Carla came from their ARCS questionnaires as well as their ARCS tests. Each participant in the ARCS was given a lengthy questionnaire about their educational, linguistic, family, and health history.

Find out more about learner questionnaires and download a shortened version of the ARCS questionnaire.

Back - arrow to left PREVIOUS TOPICNEXT TOPIC: About ASRP Profiles Next page