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Qualitative Assessment of Text Difficulty Essay

Chapter 5 aims at finding the answer whether all textbooks have to be we-written to fit the grade level of the student or they are intended only for teacher. It is argued in the chapter that many factors are important when it goes about reading of the material. Furthermore, the author suggests that sometimes material isn’t easily understood by students. Therefore the factors involved have to determine the readability of the textbook and to help student to understand it better. The factors are listed: load of concept, abstractness, format, length, sentence structure, sentence length, vocabulary and inclusiveness.

The author admits that the specific materials have to be presented in proper format and style and, furthermore, they have to be easily read by students. For example, sometimes the font is too little and it is very difficult to read the text. It is suggested that sentence structure should be simple enough, though it should be concise as well to outline the main points. (Allen 2004) The teacher must also take into consideration the level of understands when reading materials. There are three levels listed: independent reading, instructional and frustrational levels.

The chapter advises the Qualitative Assessment of Text Difficulty as it aims at determining difficulty rate of the specific materials. The test is qualitative and is able to assess the grade level of the material provided within the text. The chapter outlines that teachers should consider student’s interest. Nevertheless, the conclusion claims that textbooks are just created to help teachers rather than students. (Allen 2004) Chapter 6 provides detailed description of assessment process and defines the terms and definitions used in assessment.

The author mentions that assessment must be used in schools, because it can used “to place more emphasis on investigation where students are in the process of learning, not just the products of their learning”. (Allen 2004, 197) Furthermore, the chapter discusses the importance of the triangular paradigm and strategies used to improve the learning process of students. The triangular paradigm pays special attention to standardizing available information. The triangle assessment involves assessment of student portfolios and informal assessment in content areas.

The author admits that equity along with fairness have to be center points, because they aim at protecting students from biasness and harm. Quick standardized screening tools are used as well with the purpose to assess students in situations when information isn’t available. The chapter operates provides the following definitions and terms used to be introduced to students. Four types of assessment are involved in the method. Authentic assessment is flexible for cultural diversity and provides reading in “real” situations.

Formative assessment aims at providing the constructive feedback “feedback to student prior to handing in projects”, whereas performance-based assessment is setting criteria for passing the requirements. (Allen 2004, 198) Rubrics are used to describe the set criteria. The next assessment is norm-performance assessment and its goal is to test systems used to indicate the specific ranking. Finally, aggregating and disaggregating data is known to be collection of the data available from large groups of children. Nevertheless, the weakness of this type of assessment is that it may create indifference among students.

(Allen 2004) It is possible to say that the information provided in chapters 5 and 6 is of great importance as the question of textbook difficulty is a matter of concern not only in the USA, but also in the most countries of Europe. Furthermore, the chapters touch not only problems, but also provide relevant solutions of the current issue. It is impossible to agree that the textbooks are intended only to help teachers, because teachers have to consider student’s interest in the studying process. Moreover, the triangle paradigm will significantly contribute problem solving.

It is necessary to outline that findings presented in the chapters significantly contribute the evidence that some textbooks are hardly readable because of small font, difficult vocabulary or sentences structure. The book chapters read lead through abundant data presented to show that the problem can be resolved. It seems that improvements in this area will lead to improvements in students’ abilities to study better. References Allen, J. (2004). Tools for teaching content literacy. Portland, Me. : Stenhouse Publishers. Wolpow, R. , & Tonjes, M. (2006). Integrated content literacy (5 ed. ). Dubuque, IO: Kendall/Hunt.


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