Meeting the Essential Skill of Reading

  • Reading2
     Why a focus on reading skills for graduation?

    In today's knowledge-based world, our students need to be expert readers, writers and thinkers to compete and succeed in a global economy. Reading is the first skill that must be mastered for success in school, post secondary education, meaningful employment, and lifelong learning and citizenship.

    What is required for graduation and when?

    Beginning in 2012, Oregon high school students must demonstrate proficiency in the Essential Skill of Reading to earn a diploma. There are three assessment options available to students to show that they have met the requirement.

    • Approved Assessment Options
      • OAKS Reading Test (Achievement Score: 236)
      • Other Standardized Tests
        • ACT (Achievement Score: 18)
        • PLAN (Achievement Score: 18)
        • Work Keys (Achievement Score: 5)
        • Compass (Achievement Score: 81)
        • ASSET (Achievement Score: 42)
        • SAT (Achievement Score: 440)
        • PSAT (Achievement Score: 44)
        • AP Tests (Click to see scores)
      • Local Performance Assessment: 2 Reading Work Samples: at least one informational reading selection (the second reading selection may either be informational or literary). 
        • Score: 12 across the three required traits for each work sample (each trait must receive an individual score of at least 3); locally scored with the Official State Reading Scoring Guide. 
    To receive training in how to create and assess reading work samples, please contact Penny Plavala at MESD, at 503-257-1777.
     
    Reading  
    Guidelines for High School Reading Work Samples:
     
     The purpose of a reading work sample is to allow students who have not met the standard of 236 on the OAKS Reading Assessment to demonstrate proficiency on the Essential Skill of Reading for an Oregon High School Diploma. In general, a student who attempts the reading work sample should be in the "nearly meets" category: that is, her/his score on the OAKS assessment indicates that the student may have the necessary skills, but for some reason is not demonstrating those skills on the OAKS assessment. It is unlikely that students whose OAKS scores and classroom performance indicate that additional instruction is needed to improve reading skills will benefit from attempting a reading work sample.
     

    Requirements:

     

      1. Students must complete two reading work samples, at least one of which must be informative. A single reading work sample using two related passages is also allowed.

    1. Students must attain a combined minimum score of 12 (if scored by a single rater) or 24 (if scored by two raters), with no score lower than 3 for all traits (Demonstrate Understanding, Develop Interpretation, Text Analysis) for both work samples on the Official Reading Scoring Guide.

    Recommendations for Developing Reading Work Samples:

      • Informational or prose selections for reading work samples should be approximately 850 - 2000 words. Poetry and dramatic selections should be appropriate in length and complexity to allow for adequate responses on all traits of the scoring guide.

      • All passages used for reading work samples should be at high school level. The recommended Lexile® level for informative selections is around 1070 but could be between 950 and 1200. Literary selections may be prose, poetry or drama. (Note: Lexile scores for literary selections are less accurate than those for informational text, because the scoring system relies on sentence length and word difficulty in establishing a score, which does not account for content or concept complexity.)

      • Multiple reading tasks should be offered within a school to prevent students from sharing information about reading selections between testing sessions.

      • A single reading work sample with two related passages may be used as the entire measure for purposes of essential skill certification. This format automatically creates an opportunity for students to draw comparisons between passages. This is a common experience for many HS students.

      • Reading work samples may be on-demand or curriculum-embedded. Some on-demand work samples should be available for students who are close to graduation and need to demonstrate mastery of the Reading essential skill. However, teachers may wish to have students respond to reading selections in the regular curriculum in a manner that can be scored using the Reading Scoring Guide and then keep those assessments for future use in certifying essential skill proficiency. (Note: Responses to curriculum-embedded texts should not be returned to students if the school intends to repeat the assessment in subsequent terms or years to assist in maintaining task security.)

      • Reading work samples should allow for marginal notes, highlighting, graphic organizers, drawing, etc. in addition to written responses to questions. Scores on each trait take into account all student work throughout the task.

      • Students should respond to approximately 5 to 8 prompts/questions per reading work samples. More prompts/questions would be required if two related passages are used for a single reading work sample.

    Recommendations for Administering Reading Work Samples:

      • Allow adequate time. Each reading work sample may take more than one session to complete. These are not timed tests. Session length may be at the school's or student's preference. Student work still in progress should be collected and kept secure between testing sessions.

      • Students may be allowed some choice among reading selections or types of reading selections (e.g. topic choice, genre choice, etc.).

      • Assessments may be administered in the following ways: written (including visual and graphic representations) or dictated by the student into an electronic device or to a test administrator.

      • Students must complete their response before any feedback occurs.

    • Work samples that nearly meet the achievement standard (scoring a mix of 4s and 3s) may be returned to students for revision, along with the official scoring guide and an optional scoring form. If districts choose to use the ODE-provided scoring forms, teachers may use the forms to indicate to students what they should work on by checking off certain phrases on the form. Additional comments or instructions for revision are not permitted.
     
    ODE Reading Work Sample Resources

     Practice Reading Work Samples

    High School Practice Reading Work Samples

    High school teachers across the content areas are encouraged to integrate reading work samples into the curriculum to help students become familiar with the assessment's expectations, format, and scoring guide.

    The following practice reading work samples serve as excellent formative assessments.

    • Literary Text: High School Practice Reading Work Samples
      • Type of Selection: Short Story
        • Lexile: 880L*
          • He-y, come on Ou-t!He-y, come on Out-t! (Japanese villagers discover a strange hole in the ground after a damaging typhoon. Read this short story to learn how they become obsessed with the hole and what it means for their future.
      • Type of Selection: Short Story
        • Lexile: 1190L*
          • My Lucy Friend Who Smells Like CornMy Lucy Friend Who Smells Like Corn (Author Sandra Cisneros uses her unconventional writing style to share the story of an unforgettable girl named Lucy)
      • Type of Selection: Short Story
        • Lexile: 760L*
          • Harrison Bergeron (What will life be like in the year 2081? Science fiction writer Kurt Vonnegut has some ideas in this story of an outcast boy named Harrison.)
      • Type of Selection: Short Story
        • Lexile: 690L*
          • Powder (When a father and his son face a road block on their way to a ski adventure, they use their quick thinking in order to reach their destination.)
      • Type of Selection: Short Story
        • Lexile: 1000L*
          • The Monkey's Paw (What would you do if you had three wishes that were guaranteed to come true? Read what happens to the White family when they get this opportunity.)
      • Type of Selection: Poem
          • The Wreck of the Hesperus (The tall ship Hesperus is caught in a storm, and the captain tries to save the life of his young daughter.)
    *Lexile Scores for literary selections are less accurate than those for informational text because the scoring system relies on sentence length and word difficulty in establishing a score, which does not account for content or concept complexity.
    • Informational Text: High School Practice Reading Work Samples
      • Subject: Social Studies
        • Lexile: 1150L
          • Mayor Bloomberg Stands up for Mosque (New York City Mayor Bloomberg, Council Speaker Christine Quinn, and ten religious leaders of various faiths journeyed to Governors Island this afternoon to show their support for the proposed mosque and community center near the World Trade Center site. With the Statue of Liberty in the background, the mayor gave what sounded like one of his most heartfelt speeches ever.)
      • Subject: Social Studies
        • Lexile: 1110L
          • I Have a Dream (In his famous 1963 speech, Dr. Martian Luther King Jr. seeks an end to racial injustice and equality for all U.S. citizens.)
      • Subject: Social Studies
        • Lexile: 1180L
          • Fighting Over Food (Soaring food prices are spreading hunger and helping to spark revolutions in the Mideast. Why is food so scarce?)
      • Subject: Social Studies
        • Lexile: 1000L
          • Is it Fair to Eat Chocolate? (Do you love chocolate? Did you know children in West Africa work 12 hour days to pick the cocoa beans for your Snickers bar? Learn more in this revealing article.)
      • Subject: Current Events
        • Lexile: 1170L
          • Teens Struggle to Find Work in Sour Economy (Teenagers often look for a part-time job to pay for their cars and other items or to save for college. In today’s economy, however, teens may not be able to find work as easily as they have in the past. Read this article to learn why teens are having a hard time finding work.)
      • Subject: Current Events
        • Lexile: 1200L
          • L.A. Says 'No Fries With That' (Hoping to improve people's diets, Los Angeles has banned new fast-food restaurants in part of the city. Should what we eat be the government's business?)
      • Subject: Current Events
        • Lexile: 990L
          • Stephanie Lutz: From Chaos, With Honors (Stephanie Lutz is a star athlete, student body president, and does volunteer work with animals. Stephanie Lutz is also homeless. Read this article to learn how she beat the odds.)
      • Subject: Art
        • Lexile: 1150L
          • Man of Letters (When you see graffiti on the wall of a building, do you consider it “art”? This article showcases graffiti artist Victor Reyes from San Francisco, California.)
      • Subject: Biography
        • Lexile: 1150L
          • Wilma Rudolph (African American athlete Wilma Rudolph made history in the 1960 Summer Olympic games in Rome, Italy, when she became the first American woman to win three gold medals in the track and field competition.)
      • Subject: Health
        • Lexile 1040L
          • Cancer Basics (What is cancer? How would you know if you had it? This article provides important information about this disease.)
      • Subject: Science
        • Lexile: 1000L
          • Are Viruses Alive? (Have you had the cold or flu virus? It often feels like you are under attack by some organism. Read this article to learn more about viruses.)
    • High School Secure Practice Reading Samples
      • Access to secure samples is available through ORSkills.

    Middle School Practice Reading Work Samples

     Middle school teachers across the content areas are encouraged to integrate reading work samples into the curriculum to help students become familiar with the assessment's expectations, format, and scoring guide.

    The following practice reading work samples serve as excellent formative assessments.

    • Literary Text: Middle School Practice Reading Work Samples
      • Type of Selection: Short Story
        • Lexile: 840L*
          • All Summer in a Day (Science fiction author Ray Bradbury tells the story of a place where it has been raining for seven years. Find out how school children react when the sun comes out.
      • Type of Selection: Short Story
      • Type of Selection: Short Story
        • Lexile: 560L*
          • Fly Away Home (What is It like to be homeless? Read this story of a father and son who live in an airport.)
      • Type of Selection: Short Story
        • Lexile: 990L*
          • Papa's Parrot (This short story shares the relationship of a boy, his father, and a parrot who changes everything.)
      • Type of Selection: Short Story
        • Lexile: 710L*
          • The Memory String (Laura has a string of buttons from her great-grandmother which represents her stories and special memories from the past. When this keepsake is threatened, her family comes together in a unique way.)
      • Type of Selection: Short Story
        • Lexile: 560L*
          • Priscilla and the Wimps (When a bully and his gang threaten kids at school, an unexpected hero steps in to set things straight.)
      • Type of Selection: Novel Excerpt
        • Lexile: 500L*
          • It's Just the Legs (Pete goes next door to meet his new neighbor Theodore, but he isn't sure how to act around a person with a disability.)
      • Type of Selection: Poem

    *Lexile Scores for literary selections are less accurate than those for informational text because the scoring system relies on sentence length and word difficulty in establishing a score, which does not account for content or concept complexity.

    • Informational Text: Middle School Practice Reading Work Samples

    Reading Book Scoring Reading Work Samples 

    • Guidlines for Scoring

      A scoring guide is an assessment tool used to judge the quality of student performance in relation to content standards. As an assessment tool, scoring guides provide specific criteria to describe a range of possible student responses and a consistent set of guidelines to rate student work. Use of scoring guides to assess a student’s work can provide:

      • feedback about student progress toward meeting the standard;
      • a common vocabulary for discussing the standards across grade levels and across districts throughout the state;
      • a vehicle for meaningful self-evaluation and self-reflection;`
      • a focus for meaningful peer feedback among students.

      Reading Scoring Guides:
      Oregon Department of Education