Burt Reading Test (1974) Revised
standardised reading tests it is essential that there is no
teaching to the test. None of the words should be taught in
preparation for the test.
Each child is
tested individually on the Burt Reading Test.
Administer the test in a quiet area away from
Child (younger than 9 years old) starts at the top
and reads words from left to right.
Stop after 10 consecutive errors (or earlier if
Count the words that have been read correctly.
This is the raw score. Consult the chart 'Revised Norms For
Burt (Re-arranged)' and convert the raw score into a Reading Age
e.g. a score of 24 would give a reading age of 6.5. The
reading ages are given in years and months (Not years and tenths
of a year).
While the child
is reading the words on the printed sheet, the teacher should
record the responses on a separate sheet (a photocopy of the
test works well). The recording should not be made so obvious
as to distract the child. At the same time the recording
should be carefully and systematically done for each pupil.
Do not try to count orally the number of words correctly (or
incorrectly) read by the child, and do not try to score on odd
bits of paper. A convenient way of recording is to make a
tick (√ ) or to circle each word correctly read.
If a pupil
reads too fast for the purpose of recording, he may be asked to
read more slowly, or to reread a word which the teacher was not
Where to start
Children up to
the age of nine or those known to be weak readers should start
the test from the beginning.
the age of nine years may be allowed to commence the test at the
third, fourth or fifth group of ten words (according to the age
and the teacher's judgement), i.e. a 10-year-old may commence at
the word 'nurse', a 13-year-old at 'emergency'. The point at
which a child should commence is left to the discretion of the
teacher, but a mark should be made on the record sheet of the
first word of the group at which these older or brighter pupils
commence, to enable the teacher to calculate the score
Should a pupil
fail with any word of a group of ten words, when he has started
at a point beyond the initial groups of ten, then he should be
taken back to read the preceding group of ten words.
e.g. A child
commencing at 'beware' and failing on any word within this group
should be taken back to read the group commencing 'nurse'.
If he read
correctly all ten words in this pair of lines, he should, of
course, be credited with success on all earlier words.
During the test
The child's original response should be accepted
but spontaneous corrections should be allowed.
The child should not be told whether his responses
were correct or not; if he asks, only general encouragement
should be given.
Asking for a repetition of the word should be used
only when the examiner is not sure of what the pupil has said.
If the word is clearly said wrongly, e.g. 'know' instead of
'known' then there is no need to ask for a repetition. Asking
the child to reread the word should not be used to indicate "You
had better look at it again, there is something wrong with
it." The only case in which one would allow this is when an
obviously bright pupil or good reader makes a slip in an earlier
word. For example a bright ten-year old reading quickly may
leave the 's' off boys', but on being asked again to read the
word will usually give it correctly. It may be appropriate to
advise a pupil who makes several such errors through
inattentiveness to look at each word carefully before saying it.
The pupil should be allowed to read at his own
speed. Some pupils are very slow and show a fairly well
developed power of word analysis and synthesis if given
sufficient time. The pupil should not be hurried, and
self-corrections should be counted as correct.
Guessing is allowed; indeed a child should be
encouraged to guess rather than omit words that he does not
Words should not be pronounced for pupils even
when they stumble over them. Usually when a child is unable to
say the word, the injunction, "We will leave that one. Let's
go to the next word," is sufficient.
The usual pronunciation of words should be
accepted. Local variations occur and these should be allowed
for in deciding on the correctness or otherwise of responses.
Any attempt at coaching or teaching the
difficult words to pupils should be studiously avoided
* Note that
it is advisable to wait at least six months before testing a
child again on the same test.