Reading Level Tests for Calculating Grade, Competency, & Level

Posted in Resources on May 9, 2017 - by

Free reading level tests

So, you're looking for free reading level assessment tests? You've come to the right place! As you may already know, there are a large variety of tests that can determine reading level, reading grade level, reading comprehension level, and phonetic ability.

I've compiled the most useful tests into what I hope will be an easy online format.

Quick Reading Level Calculator to Determine Grade Level

Below is the 40L's Quick Screen Reading Grade Level Test. This reading level test will approximate a grade for 1st-12th grades. The test uses a quick word list and requires a medium level of test "administration." The instructions should load below.

Scoring the Quick Screen Reading Test

To score the test, count the number of words read correctly and divide that total by 10 to get a decimal score of reading grade level.  For example, a student who missed the word “mope” in line 1, “pause” in line 2, then “noisy, ledge, alike, grackle, and partook” in line 3 would have missed 5 words in a row on line 3, so you stop the test.  There are 10 words in each numbered line (5 on top and 5 on the bottom), so the student missed 7 of 30 words read.  30 – 7 = 23 words read correctly.  23/10 = 2.3, so the student would be reading at a grade level of 2.3.

Click here to download the printable PDF.

San Diego Quick Assessment of Reading Ability

This San Diego Quick Assessment test is another easy way to connect the dots between reading ability and grade level. The test places students into levels preprimer to eleventh grade.

The test measures the student's recognition of words out of context. The theory is that proficient readers can read accurately no matter the context of the material. The test is comprised of 13 graded word lists. Weak readers rely too much on context to identify words.

Grading the Test:

  • 1 error = Independent Level
  • 2 errors = Instructional Level
  • 3 errors = Frustration Level

Student Reading Level = The last grade-level word list in which the student achieves an Instructional Level (misses no more than 2 words.)

San Diego Quick Assessment measures the recognition of words out of context.

Test administration requirements: Low - easy to administer.

Click here to view, download, and print the San Diego Quick Reading Level Assessment Test PDF.

Grade Level from Reading Passages & Phonetic Code Proficiency

The National Right to Read Foundation has two excellent tests for grade level and proficiency. However, I recommend taking the tests in the reverse order they are listed in. Part one is for phonetic code proficiency and part two is for grade level assessment. I suggest taking the grade level assessment first.

The grade level test is not based on a random word list, but uses short reading passages to accomplish a similar task. This test only measures grades 1-6.

Test administration requirements: Low - easy to administer.

Click here to take the NRRF tests online.

An Informal Reading Assessment

This test is an informal reading inventory. The test utilizes grade specific word lists (25 words each) for preprimer through 8th grade. One set of these graded passages can be used to assess students’ oral reading, and the other can be used to assess silent reading.

Test administration requirements: Medium/High - Long PDF of 50+ pages.

Click here to view, download, and print the Jennings Informal Reading Assessment PDF.

Reading Test to Determine a Need for Phonics Instruction

The Miller Word Identification Assessment is the most powerful free reading test that can assess if the test-taker would benefit from phonics instruction.

Test administration requirements: High - grading the test requires a very high level of involved and measurement.

Click here to view, download, and print the MWIA test.

Advanced Written Comprehension

Students in middle school, high school, and college may benefit from taking our free written comprehension test. The test measures English language comprehension at a more advanced level of logic. Unlike many placement tests that rely on vocabulary or pronunciation, this test focuses on English equivalencies and reasoning.

The test is scored, but does not offer "placement."

About Sarah Tippett

Sarah is the editor for Homeschool Base, a passionate writer, and teacher. When she isn't writing she is homeschooling her youngest son.

4 Responses to “Reading Level Tests for Calculating Grade, Competency, & Level”

  1. Laura says:

    I appreciate these placement tests so much. Thank you!

  2. Cheryll Davis says:

    These are so incredibly helpful! I love the first one that automatically grades!

  3. Malcolm MacHauer MD says:

    Ms Tippett, I am a college level science instructor investigating why my students do so poorly in my introductory course. My suspicion is that they cannot read the science textbooks well enough to understand it. I am considering using some type of reading assessment for students that appear to be struggling. At this community college, students must take the Compass Assessment test and score well enough to get into any science course, but I don't know the details or challenges of that test or whether it is a valid screening test for college level science courses. Thanks for any advice you have

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