This article summarizes Amira’s approach (algorithm) for establishing the Reading Level shown for each student in the Amira Benchmark Report.

Output:

The Reading Level generated is “concorded” (roughly equivalent) to the Fountas & Pinnell levels. A student receives a level from “A” to “Z." The goal of the level is to establish the difficulty level of the content a student should be reading to drive improvement. The Reading Level is the “instructional level” appropriate for the child at the moment in time of the assessment.

Importantly, the Reading Level is not meant to signal the level of text that a student will “be able” to read or that the student will “be comfortable” reading. The level aims to pinpoint the text complexity that is the center of the student’s Zone of Proximal Development (ZPD). Text at the designated Reading Level will be sufficiently difficult to trigger errors and growth but not so hard as to generate frustration and failure.

In general, reading material at the student’s Reading Level will cause the student to make mistakes, miscues, and skips on between 5% and 15% of words.

Elements of the Calculation:

Amira uses three primary elements to ascertain the Reading Level.

Adjusted WCPM (Fluency)

This metric is the number of words a student correctly articulates in a typical minute of oral reading. Only correct words count towards this measure of fluency.

Estimated Reading Age (Comprehension & Accuracy)

This metric is the estimated reading age of the student. This metric focuses on the student’s ability to read accurately, where that is defined as the student's capacity to read words at varying levels of difficulty. A student’s AREA score rises as the student demonstrate an ability to successfully handle harder and harder words.

Item Accuracy (Skills)

This metric utilizes the student’s adjusted accuracy across each of the words (i.e. “items”) in the passage students read.

The Reading Level is then computed by:

  1. Taking a weighted aggregation of the three indicators of student mastery

  2. Mapping this weighted aggregation to the Reading Level

The critical ingredient in the above is that there are rich benchmarks that map to grade and term. These benchmarks enable the scores on one metric to “be related” to the scores on another.

Metric

Source of Benchmark

Location of Benchmark

WCPM

Hasbrouck & Tindal Benchmark Study

https://files.eric.ed.gov/fulltext/ED594994.pdf

AREA

Amira Learning

http://crr.ugent.be/archives/806

Reading Level

F&P

https://www.fountasandpinnell.com/textlevelgradient/

Reading Science Framework:

Amira is based on the SVRF (Simple View of Reading Framework) and other Science of Reading constructs that emphasize the dual importance of Word Recognition and Listening Comprehension. The Reading Level attempts to establish a target reading level factoring in both sides of the equation that Reading Comprehension = WR (Word Recognition) x LC (Listening Comprehension).


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