Every Fall I get a lot of questions about how to define a ”nonreader.” People ask this question because a student has to be termed a nonreader to be able to have a teacher read the reading portion of the MCAS aloud.
In the past, several colleagues called the state and were told that if the student is beyond the first grade readability level, he should read all portions of the MCAS himself. Although seemingly unfair, this is regardless of what grade the student is currently in. For example, if a sixth grader was reading in the second grade readability level, he could not receive the accommodation.
Using the Fountas and Pinnell Instructional Pacing Chart, a student would have completed the first grade if he was able to read at a Level J. This would mean at least 95% accuracy at this level with satisfactory comprehension.
Recently, another colleague got a response from the DESE in writing. This is what they sent her by email:
“Thank you for your question. There is no one measure or standard score used to determine whether or not a student is a virtual nonreader. However, the Department generally states that students who are reading at first- or mid-first grade level may be considered to be a virtually nonreader. — Robert Pelychaty, Accommodations and MCAS Performance Appeals Coordinator in the Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education”