NCEO Technical Reports: Student Think-Aloud Reflections on Comprehensible and Readable Assessment Items: Perspectives on What Does and Does Not Make an Item Readable (#48)


A document reporting on research related to large-scale assessments for students with learning disabilities in reading. The researchers examined the role of "readable and comprehensible" test items that could make assessments more universally designed, using think-aloud methods to better understand how interventions to improve readability affect student performance. Reducing word counts in items and making important words bold did not seem to affect student achievement but vocabulary did. Students had difficulty with non-construct vocabulary in both the stem and answer choices of items as well as with words that have negative prefixes (e.g., dis). This suggests that readability correlates with vocabulary and that construct and non-construct vocabulary must be clearly defined in order to make tests more accessible.


September 2007 
Number 48
National Center on Educational Outcomes (NCEO)


  • Specific life stage
    • Children
    • Adolescents and young adults
  • Educational accountability and assessment
    • Accessibility & Accommodations
    • Students with Disabilities
    • Universal Design