• What Is The Accelerated Reader?

    The Accelerated Reader, or AR (Advantage Learning Systems, 1993), is a learning information system that enables freestanding computer-assisted assessment of student comprehension of “real” books. It facilitates

    • more frequent and more detailed assessment in less time and with greater consistency
    • formative feedback for the student
    • student development of metacognitive awareness
    • increased student motivation to read more, longer, and harder books
    • formative feedback for the teacher
    • class-wide diagnostic information, including alerts regarding students who are at risk
    • teacher promotion and management of effective reading practice

    The Accelerated Reader is a curriculum-based assessment tool that provides a summary and analysis of results to enable teachers to monitor both the quantity and quality of reading practice engaged in by their students. Students administer comprehension tests voluntarily themselves, and the system is intended specifically to have strong formative effects on subsequent learning.

    A student who uses the program selects a book from the more than 25,000 titles on the AR list. Each book is assigned a point value based on the number of words it contains and its reading difficulty, as derived from a formula based on the well-known Flesch-Kincaid readability index (Chall & Dale, 1995; Flesch, 1968, 1974) that considers the number of syllables in words and sentence complexity. Point values are calculated thus:

    AR points = (10 + reading level) x (words in book ÷ 100,000)

    After reading, the student goes to the computer and takes a multiple-choice comprehension test on the book's content. Tests may have 5, 10, or 20 items, depending on the length and difficulty of the book. The computer scores the test, awards the student points based on the results, and keeps a complete record. For a book valued at 10 AR points, such as Anna Sewell's Black Beauty, a student would receive 10 points for a score of 100 percent, 9 points for 90 percent, and so on. However, the student must score at least 60 percent on the test to earn any points at all. Further, the software designers recommend that teachers target 85 percent as being optimal for students.

    Students select their own books and read at their own pace. In addition, teachers may choose to allow students to take tests on books that are read to and with them. This is a popular choice with new or delayed readers and in classrooms where the program is used with classwide, selective or elective peer tutoring. In this case, both assisting and assisted participants in reading activities may subsequently self-assess their comprehension of the book on the AR system, with 85 percent correct responses remaining the optimal target. However, in most classrooms, the majority of AR points will be earned through independent reading.

    (The above was excerpted from www.readingonline.org/critical/topping.rolarD.html ).