Early reading performance: a comparison of teacher-based and test-based assessments.

D. T. Kenny*, E. Chekaluk

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

43 Citations (Scopus)


An unresolved question in early screening is whether test-based or teacher-based assessments should form the basis of the classification of children at risk of educational failure. Available structured teacher rating scales are lacking in predictive validity, and teacher predictions of students likely to experience reading difficulties have yielded disappointing true positive rates, with teachers failing to identify the majority of severely disabled readers. For this study, three educational screening instruments were developed: (a) a single teacher rating, categorizing children into three levels of reading ability (advanced, average, poor); (b) a 15-item teacher questionnaire designed to measure students' cognitive and language ability, attentional and behavioral characteristics, and academic performance; and (c) a battery of language and reading tests that are predictive of, or correlate with, reading failure. The concurrent validity of each instrument was assessed in a sample of 312 Australian schoolchildren from kindergarten, Year 1, and Year 2. Students were assessed at the end of the 1989 school year after having completed 1, 2, or 3 years of schooling. The results suggest that the nature of the skills required for success in reading changes in the first 3 years of schooling. Both teachers and tests concur more closely as children progress through the elementary years and as the risk behavior (reading) becomes more accessible to direct measurement. Carefully focused teacher rating scales may be a cost-effective means of identifying children at risk of reading failure. Improved teacher rating scales should be developed and used to assist in the early screening process.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)227-236
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Learning Disabilities
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - Apr 1993
Externally publishedYes


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