Robert Culpepper
Assignment #2:
Cloze Reading Assessment Test
ED-432 sec 01
Dr. Chance
4:20 - 6:50 Wednesday

  The Cloze test is used primarily to determine a students level of reading ability. A student is first tested for reading level, in this case the Slosson oral has previously been administered. After a student’s reading level has been determined, a reading selection is taken from a book of like grade level (in this case determined by administering the Fry Graph on the book). As is standard, every fifth word is removed and replaced by a blank space, in this assignment there were 20 blanks in the selection. In this assignment, as was suggested, a paragraph of text preceded the actual test material.

  Evaluation of the test determines a student’s reading level; an independent reading level indicates that the student could read the selected book on their own, instructional level means that the student can read the book with assistance and frustration level means that the book is difficult for the student to read and is likely above the student’s reading grade level. For the purposes of this assignment, the following scale was assigned for evaluation: the independent reading level is based as 50% or more of the blanks filled in correctly, instructional level is 30% - 50% and frustration level is rated as 30% or less of the blanks correctly filled in.

  On Friday, October 6, 1995, I administered a Cloze test to a student named Natalie at Stivers Middle School in Dayton, who I had administered a Slosson oral test to the previous week. On the Slosson oral, Natalie scored in the 8th grade reading level (8.95 to be exact). Taking her Slosson score, I set out in search of a text book involving African American studies, an area she is very interested in. After much searching, I secured the book African American History at the Wright State ERC and submitted it to Fry Graph analysis (attachment 1). Taking three 100 word samples randomly from the book I computed the approximate reading grade level of the book. Sample 1 consisted of 7.3 sentences and 149 syllables, sample 2 had 9.2 sentences and 155 syllables and sample 3 had 8.5 sentences and 158 syllables. The average of the samples was 8.33 sentences and 154 syllables. I plotted this point on the graph, and fortunately it fell within the 8th grade reading level. I then constructed a Cloze test to be administered.

  The test was administered to Natalie during the 4th period in the same conference room Mrs. King had selected for me to give Natalie the Slosson oral test the previous week. I explained the test to Natalie and gave her the test to fill out (attachment 2). While Natalie was taking the test, I either sat down at a nearby table or walked to a nearby window.

  Natalie finished the test in about eight minutes, and I quickly compared it to my master copy (attachment 3). I then sat down with Natalie and asked her why she had chosen each of her selections, the correct and incorrect ones alike. I recorded her responses, and thanked her for helping me and she returned to class.

  Natalie correctly filled in 11 of the 20 blanks (55%) and placed in the independent reading level. Below is a chart of error, indicating the correct response, the response given, the reason the answer was given, if there was a change in grammar and if there was a change in the meaning of the statement. Following the chart will be a more detailed account of why each incorrect answer was given.

  I asked Natalie why she chose each of her selections, and asked her if other words would make sense in the context of the sentence. I did this for all 20 selections, including the ones she got right as well as the ones she got wrong. For example on selection 1, which she filled in correctly, I asked her if ‘is’ would have worked. She promptly told me that everything was in the past, so ‘is’ would be wrong.

  In her first mistake on the test, Natalie substituted ‘food’ for the word ‘literature’. I asked Natalie if the word ‘literature’ would fit better, and Natalie told me that most likely books would be together with art. On the second mistake, Natalie used the phrase ‘brought on’ instead of ‘stimulated’. I asked her about using ‘stimulated’ and I was promptly asked what the word meant. The third mistake made was the substitution of the phrase ‘in many’ instead of ‘of’. When I asked Natalie about this, she read the sentence back with ‘of’ in its place and said it didn’t sound right. On this I really had to agree.

  The fourth mistake made was the usage of ‘racism’ instead of ‘oppression’. When I asked Natalie about this I was met with the same response I got for ‘stimulated’: what does it mean? Natalie’s next mistake came when she used ‘art’ instead of ‘society’ in the selection. Again I asked her about using society in the sentence, and Natalie said it seemed right to her since art had been used before in the paragraph.

  Natalie’s sixth error was in putting ‘something’ in the selection instead of ‘things’. When I asked her about the possibility of using ‘things’, she simply told me that nobody used that word that way. Again, I would have to agree with her since I have heard few people ever say ‘things new’. The seventh mistake was the use of ‘movement’ instead of ‘Renaissance’. As I had done several times before, I asked her about her choice and asked if ‘Renaissance’ would have worked. Natalie’s response was that it wouldn’t work because a renaissance is something 'really old'. I could understand this reasoning, since the only time students really hear this term is in early European history.

  The eighth mistake made on the Cloze test was the use of the word ‘racist’ instead of ‘this’. I really didn’t understand this substitution, and when I asked about it Natalie said that she couldn’t think of anything else, that she had used ‘racist’ before in the selection and ‘racist’ was the only thing she could associate with New York in the context of the sentence. The ninth, and final, mistake Natalie made was the use of the phrase ‘period for’ instead of ‘by’. By this time Natalie seemed tired of all this and simply said she couldn’t think of any other word to use. She wanted to return to her class, so I thanked her for putting up with me and my tests and let her return to the room.

  From my perspective, most of Natalie’s errors on the Cloze test could be attributed to two things: she was unfamiliar with some of the vocabulary used and the text in some places was written in a way in which few students (or adults for that matter) speak. So, what can be done about it? If this had been an actual textbook assignment, one thing that could be done is to provide the students with a list of vocabulary words they do not understand completely.

Due to concerns of privacy and regard for the student, the actual data collected in this assignment will not be posted to the Internet.

Hughes, L., Meltzer, M. & Lincoln C.E. (1990). African American History
New York: Scholastic.

Pedagogy: Student Specific