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Summative assessment: How to create a reading test

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Summative assessments are an important part of the education system. They offer a way to evaluate a student’s overall understanding of a subject or topic. In this blog post we will explore the significance of reading tests as a form of summative assessment and look at the benefits they offer both students and teachers. 


What is summative assessment?


We’ve spoken about summative assessment before, they are an evaluation conducted at the end of a course or period of learning to measure a student’s understanding of the topic. At The English Classroom, we provide a summative assessment at the end of each 10 lesson course. If you would like to take a closer look at what a summative assessment is and how to use it you can find our handy guide here. 

The role of reading tests


Reading tests are crucial to assessing a student’s understanding and reading comprehension skills. They go beyond testing a student’s ability to read words and sentences, instead they help you, as an educator, to assess how much they understand, can analyse and interpret information. Here are some key reasons why reading tests are a valuable form of summative assessment: 


    1. Evaluating comprehension: Reading tests assess a student’s understanding of the material they have been learning throughout a set period. They require students to not only read the information, but also process and understand, identify key points and draw conclusions.
    2. Assesses critical thinking: Reading tests will often include questions that require critical thinking. Student’s might be asked to analyse the text, evaluate the author's arguments and draw their own conclusions about what they have read. 
    3. Measure vocabulary and language skills: A well constructed reading test will allow a teacher to assess a student’s vocabulary and language skills by not only measuring what they understood from what they read but also in the language they use to answer the questions.
    4. Extends beyond the classroom: A student’s ability to read and understand is a vital skill that your student’s will continue to use well beyond their years in the classroom.
    5. Clear feedback: When accompanied by feedback, summative assessments like reading tests can provide students with a clear understanding of their performance and help them to identify the areas in which they need to improve.

What makes an effective reading test? 


Fluency in reading is not only about being able to pronounce printed words, it is about understanding the content and context of what you are reading. Therefore a good reading test will help you, as an educator, to identify which of your students are understanding that content and context and those that need additional help. 

Certain types of questions are often included in a reading comprehension test. As an educator, you will need to assess the level of your students and adjust the questions and the text accordingly. 


  1. Organise the sentence: Give your student’s a muddled sentence and ask them to rearrange the words so that the sentence makes sense. This activity requires your students to focus on the structure of a sentence to create meaning. 
  2. Comprehension questions: Give your students a text to read and then a set of questions that they must answer about this text. This type of reading comprehension test can help you gather insights into what your student’s understand. 
  3. Peer discussions: Peer discussions are useful for students of all levels and abilities. Ask your students to work in pairs or small groups to discuss the text they have read. You could even ask one student to ask questions for the other to answer. 


Reading tests are an invaluable tool in the classroom. They not only evaluate a student's comprehension skills but also promote critical thinking and language proficiency whilst offering educators valuable insights into their teaching methods and curriculum. 

For more information about reading tests and how to use them you might like to read our hand-picked blogs here and be sure to sign up for our English teaching resources here. We will also send blog posts directly to your email.


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Written by Rebecca Sparling

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