The Keystone Book Assessments were developed during an intensive three-year process in collaboration with intervention teachers, literacy coaches, and university faculty. In Years 1 and 2, the purpose was to develop a collection of leveled texts that teachers could use for assessing and monitoring students’ progress over time and to use teacher feedback for identifying potential texts for an assessment collection. In Year 3, research was designed to test the validity of the Keystone Assessments using the Slosson Oral Reading Test (SORT). The results from the validation study provided strong support for using the Keystone Book Assessment Collection to measure student gains in reading.
In Years 1 and 2, Reading Recovery teachers, teacher leaders, and literacy coaches from the UALR Center for Literacy and the University of Kentucky Collaborative Center for Literacy Development reviewed hundreds of leveled texts and created a broad collection of books suitable for students in kindergarten to second grade. This collection represented a variety of publishers, text types, layouts, authors, genre, and cultural backgrounds. Under the direction of Patsy Conner, UALR Reading Recovery Teacher Leader, and Karen Birdwhistell, UK Teacher Leader, the teachers created book introductions and directions for using the texts as a progress monitoring measure (see https://ualr.edu/literacy/keystone-book-collection/).
During fall of Year 3, reading educators from six universities engaged in a systematic process of selecting texts from the broad collection, identify gaps in text types and reviewing new texts for inclusion, creating standardized introductions and testing procedures, and contacting book publishers to create the Keystone Book Assessment Collection. The final collection included 70 books at levels A-M from 11 publishers (see https://ualr.edu/literacy/keystone-assessments/).
In spring of Year 3, Dr. Brian Doore, Researcher at the University of Maine Research and Evaluation Center, Dr. Linda Dorn, Professor and Director of the UALR Center of Literacy, and Mary Rosser, Director of the University of Maine Center for Literacy led the study for validating the Keystone Book Assessments. Four partner universities (University of Kentucky, National Louis University, University of Northern Iowa, Georgia State University) provided training and support for the participating schools in their regions. A total of 47 reading teachers from 24 schools across 9 states administered the Keystone Assessments and the Slosson Oral Reading Test to 800 K-2 children in January and in May. The correlation results from pre-and post-testing provide evidence that the Keystone texts are a valid tool for assessing and monitoring the students’ reading gains on benchmark texts that increase in degrees of difficulty (see Table 1). The results from the study will be presented in an upcoming article by Dorn, Doore, and Roser.
Table 1 – Correlation of Keystone Assessment and Slosson Oral Reading Test