Monitoring To Validate Student Growth
of Reading Power

A student’s reading level is a set marker at the moment of testing for understanding what may be possible for the student to read and comprehend at that time. Establishing a student’s reading level is the baseline for continuous monitoring of that student’s growth.

Next Gen ELA Standards were important expectations to sharpen instructional focus across all academic areas, particularly in student acquisition of content knowledge. In doing so, the assumption is that a student has to be able to read at an appropriate level to be sync with grade level expectations reflected in the standards. The importance of preparing students to acquire and apply the standards is the gold standard of education in this era of higher expectations. However, a deeper need for learning rests squarely on the knowledge of how well the student can read.

For teachers, the importance of integrating both reading skills and acquisition of standards is where they need to be for serious and effective interventions to be applied. An examination of current status of reading performance finds large percentages of students at the emerging and transitioning levels, and these percentages have held from the beginning of implementation of State reading standards and related testing. Therefore, it is time to reexamine the manner of instruction and intervention strategies to strengthen student comprehension.

As long as reading skill development is not examined and measured in terms of a reading level, it behooves teachers to have access to student reading levels as the basis to monitor those levels as a validation of instructional effectiveness and student growth. Currently, the situation is comparable to fighting with one hand tied behind your back. The situation can and must change, especially with the negative impact COVID has had on our students.

You may recall that in the not to distant past, NYS used Degrees of Reading Power, DRP, as its key determiner in assessing reading levels of students in grades 4 and 8. You may also remember that the DRP was developed for NYS. However, with the SED’s move to reading performance, a new and critical dimension of reading was established. Now we are at an important juncture, based on time and performance, when a student’s reading level and performance need to relate. The timely measure of a student’s reading level in association with a teacher’s instruction and interventions may now be validated in medias res.

Schools interested in pursuing this important and innovative approach should contact Pete Cooper at or 518-925-6021 to discuss questions and potential costs.

Dr. Bruce H. Crowder is a senior researcher for Educational Vistas, Inc. His work is primarily focused on creating pathways for deeper learning for all students through student performance and a dynamic curriculum replete with strategic teaching. Dr. Crowder may be reached at