The University of Iowa

Middle Level Teachers’ Perceptions of Interim Reading Assessments: An Exploratory Study of Data-Based Decision Making


This study explored the data-based decision making of 12 teachers in grades 6–8 who were asked about their perceptions and use of three required interim measures of reading performance: oral reading fluency (ORF), retell, and a benchmark comprised of released state test items. Focus group participants reported they did not believe the benchmark or ORF tests accurately reflected students’ comprehension abilities. Teachers held more favorable opinions of retell but admitted improvising their use of the measure rather than following mandated implementation procedures. Participants reported that only summative state assessment scores were used to plan appropriate instruction and only for large groups. Results suggest the need for improved support for data-based decision making and the development of technically adequate interim measures with relevance to the teachers expected to use them.


Reed, D.K. (2015). Middle level teachers’ perceptions of interim reading assessments: An exploratory study of data-based decision making. Research in Middle Level Education, 38(6), 1-13. Retrieved from

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