Our kids will take a new reading test this year

I recently learned that my first grader will be taking a new reading test — the IRI (Idaho Reading Indicator) — this fall. I contacted the elementary principal to learn more. She helped me better understand the old and new IRI tests.

Since the early 1990’s, children in grades K-3 were given an IRI test twice a year (fall and spring). It was a simple one-minute-timed test of fluency skills. It was not very comprehensive or adaptive (especially for students with special needs). The test results provided parents, teachers and administrators with information about a student’s basic ability to read.

This new test (called Istation) has several differences:

  • It is taken on a computer instead of being given by a proctor.
  • It is computer adaptive.
  • It can accommodate students with special needs.
  • It can be taken on a regular basis (the state will collect the data twice a year).
  • The teachers and administrators are sent the results as soon as the test is finished.
  • Istation provides tailored suggestions for the teachers, based on their students needs.

I wanted to get a copy of the old test and compare it to the new test, but the tests are not available (to avoid cheating?).

I look forward to talking to my daughter and her teacher about the new test. I hope the regular testing will provide a more accurate measurement of my child’s reading growth. I also hope that teachers will be able use the Istation resources to improve their student’s ability to learn.

If you are curious about your local school’s past IRI scores, or any elementary school, you can look up the data on Idaho Ed Trends.

Melanie Flake

Melanie Flake

Get EdNews in your inbox

Weekly round up every Friday