Evaluating Student Literacy and Numeracy Skills

Posted on Categories Academic/Technical Skill Integration, Curriculum Planning

At a Glance

Lebanon County Career and Technology Center (LCCTC) faculty assess students’ math and reading skills to identify students who need academic intervention to score at a ninth grade reading and math level. 


To identify who requires additional academic support and to monitor progress, all full-day LCCTC students’ reading and math skills are assessed using the Informal Reading Inventory (Betty D. Roe & Paul Clay Burns) and Key Math™. The assessments are given during the first grading quarter to establish a baseline and to identify those students who need intervention.

The Informal Reading Inventory (IRI) evaluates reading levels from preprimer to twelfth grade. It takes about 15 to 20 minutes to complete and is administered individually. The IRI is given every quarter. Because there are four different reading assessments per grade level, students do not take the same test twice.

LCCTC set a goal that all full-day students would strive to score at a ninth grade reading level or higher by the end of the school year. Once students score at a ninth grade reading level, they are no longer tested. For those students who do not score at a ninth grade level, LCCTC staff provides them with additional academic support.   

The Key Math™ assessment (numeration, measurement, and problem solving subtests) is administered twice a year, in the first and fourth quarters.  The assessment, which evaluates math grade levels from first grade to twelfth grade, takes about 30 to 45 minutes to administer to each student. As with the reading levels, LCCTC established a goal for all full-day students to score at a ninth grade math level or above by the end of the school year. Students are not tested after scoring at or above this level.

Origin / Implementation

The move to administer ongoing formal reading and math assessments to every full-time student was spearheaded by the LCCTC TAP Literacy and Numeracy Team. For many years, the team helped implement academic support and integration strategies across all program areas. However, it came to realize that without an evaluation system in place, there was no way to consistently assess whether students were making progress in reading and math. The team wanted to measure student academic progress to identify whether the support strategies were effective and which individual students needed additional interventions. Then, the team could use the assessment results to identify students who were below a ninth grade level in reading and/or math and implement strategies to address their specific needs. The team decided to begin using the IRI during the 2010-2011 school year and the Key Math™ assessment during the 2013-2014 school year.

Results / Impact

The IRI and Key Math™ assessment results indicate LCCTC made progress in reaching the goal of all students achieving at a ninth grade level or higher in reading and math during the 2015-2016 school year. In the first quarter, 56 percent of full-time students were evaluated at a ninth grade reading level.  In the fourth quarter of the school year, 85 percent of full-time students had scored at a ninth grade reading level on the IRI.

On the Key Math™ assessment, students performed as follows:

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Lebanon County Career and Technology Center
Karen Gulotta, Special Populations Coordinator

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