What questions will learners answer in the test?

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Bedrock’s Reading Test is adaptive, which means every learner is served a different set of texts and questions, tailored to their individual reading ability. To offer this personalisation, the Reading Test uses an adaptive algorithm.

How does the algorithm work?

Our adaptive algorithm serves a learner’s first question based on their chronological age. Depending on whether the learner answers it correctly or not, the algorithm selects another question, and then another, and another, until it can correctly calculate the learner’s reading ability.


Because the algorithm selects questions for the learner in real-time, the Reading Test can provide a result quickly whilst still being accurate.

We know that the test is accurate because, while the Reading Test is calculating a learner’s ability, it is also measuring how much error there might be in this calculation (using the standard error of measurement.)

What sort of questions will learners be asked?

During the test, the learner will answer questions about a variety of text types, such as:

  • Descriptive fiction
  • Plays
  • Essays
  • Speeches
  • Poems
  • Articles
  • Biographies

…and more! This variety of text types not only aligns with age-related national curriculum expectations but also helps to form a well-rounded assessment of a learner’s reading ability.

To provide an accurate insight into your learners’ reading abilities, the questions within the Reading Test target a range of subskills:

  • Explicit retrieval
  • Implicit retrieval
  • Meaning in context
  • Prediction
  • Evidencing ideas
  • Inter/intratextuality
  • Summary

To assess these subskills, a range of question types are used: multiple choice, ordering, sorting, and summary completion. These different response formats allow each subskill to be tested most effectively, such as an ordering task that tests the learner’s ability to summarise the main ideas in a text.

We have carried out extensive testing to make sure that all of our questions measure reading ability regardless of genre, text, or subskill, and that there is no element of bias from the learners’ pre-existing knowledge. This means that more widely-read learners are not advantaged over their peers, and ensures that the Reading Test is assessing reading ability alone.

Why isn’t there a progress bar?

Due to the adaptive algorithm, questions are chosen for learners in real time. Each question adds slightly differently to the overall picture of a learner’s ability, so there is no set number of questions that a learner will answer during the test. They will answer anywhere between 10 and 30 questions. Therefore, there is no progress bar, as this will vary between learners.

Want to help set your learners up for success during the Reading Test? Learn more about supporting your learners with this assessment here.

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