How can school personnel use data to make instructional decisions?
Page 6: Error Analysis for Reading
To conduct an error analysis for students reading at a first- through third-grade instructional level, the teacher typically administers a passage reading fluency (PRF) measure, which is a general indicator of a student’s reading skills. As the student reads aloud for one minute, the teacher records any errors, such as misread words, skipped words, or added words. It is beneficial for the teacher to note the substitution the student used. For example, if the word is “learned” and the student says “listened,” the teacher should note this on the probe.
Click here to view an example of a PRF probe on which the teacher has marked Natalia’s errors as well as recorded the substitutions.
For Your InformationFor some students, the PRF is not the most appropriate progress monitoring measure to administer. For students who have difficulty on a PRF measure (i.e., read 10 words or less correctly), the teacher might want to instead administer a word identification fluency (WIF) measure.
After administering and scoring the progress monitoring measure or work sample, it is important to analyze the types of errors the student makes. One way to do this is to systematically record the errors on a form like the one below, using the following steps.
- In the Actual Word column, record the words from the passage that the student read incorrectly.
- In the Student’s Response column, the teacher writes what the student actually said.
- For each row, decide what type of error(s) the student made and place an “X” in the appropriate box(es).
- Review the completed table, noting the type of error(s) that the student consistently made.
In the table below, Natalia’s first three errors have been recorded and categorized.
|Actual Word||Student Responses|
For Your Information
The error analysis method described above is only one way to identify and categorize student errors. Alternatively, teachers might consider administering a phonics inventory that consists of nonsense words to help identify word patterns (e.g., vowel-consonant-vowel) with which a student is having difficulty. The National Center on Intensive Intervention offers more information about using a phonics inventory.
Using Natalia’s marked probe (the same probe as above), complete the remainder of the table, noting the written word, spoken word, and type of error.
|Actual word||Student responses|
|Actual word||Student responses|
Based on the data, in most instances when Natalia read a word, she got the initial sound correct but got the end of the word incorrect. An examination of the words she missed suggests that Natalia is guessing at the words based on their initial sounds.
Resources for Addressing Reading Skills
After identifying the types of errors a student consistently makes, the teacher should use the data to make instructional adaptations to the student’s reading intervention. The resources below provide information for addressing reading skills.
The Meadows Center for Preventing Education Risk: Word Study for Students with Learning Disabilities and English Language Learners
Florida Center for Reading Research: Sample Lessons for Kindergarten through Third Grade (phonemic awareness, phonics, fluency, vocabulary, comprehension)