The Independent Reading Level Assessment and Its Impact on Third Grade Reading Achievement

Amy Amato Jackson

Copyright for this work is retained by the author.


This study focuses on the developmental reading taxonomy known as the Independent Reading Level Assessment (IRLA). The purposes of the study were to analyze the inclusion and timing of the elements required for learning to read, and to discover whether the use of the IRLA impacted results on summative third grade assessments (Smarter Balanced Assessments). A taxonomic structure was used to examine the content validity study of the IRLA. Findings were that while the developmental progressions were accurate and the elements were inclusive, the areas of executive functioning, phonological awareness, and vocabulary could be strengthened, and that spelling could be more pronounced to strengthen decoding and encoding of language. ANOVA analysis of standardized test scores in 49 IRLA schools over four years showed no statistically significant change. The wide range of scores from year one to year four indicated potential issues with implementation of the IRLA. This study yielded two conclusions: (1) the elements and timing for teaching reading as presented in the IRLA largely match the research base; 2) no evidence through standardized test scores of the impact of the IRLA was found.