Compared to conventional classroom settings, e-learning relies heavily on a student’s reading ability. However, many students, particularly those at-risk or those who may have already dropped out of conventional schools, tend to have low reading ability that affects their ability to learn online. The problem is that relatively little has been done to address reading problems confronted by online distance learners and educators. E-learning often begins with an assumption that students can read. This study (a) identifies empirically supported reading assessments employed by conventional schools and (b) proposes reading assessment strategies for use by online educators. A review of reading assessment literature reveals that in conventional schools settings, classroom teachers are the primary people who detect students’ potential reading problems; reading specialists are often called upon to further diagnose and treat reading problems; authentic assessments and reading software are being used as an integral part of classroom instruction to help students enhance their reading skill. The proposed assessment strategies include extant data analysis, learner self- and informant assessments, and reading-specific and performance-based assessments.
Key Terms in this Chapter
Reading-Specific Assessment: A reading-specific assessment is administered by trained teachers, reading specialists, and school psychologists that focuses specifically on assessing students’ reading ability.
Performance-Based Assessment: A performance-based assessment is employed by teachers using specific items to measure learners’ achievements in areas other than reading (e.g., regular course assignments and exams); including questions or items related to reading problems in the assessment identifies a student’s potential reading problems.
Informant Assessment: An informant assessment is conducted by someone who knows the student; the informant rates the student’s reading abilities. Informants can be the student’s parents and former teachers.