Level 1 (First Class) of the test consists of 50 items. The items are grouped into three subtests which collectively provide a balanced assessment of children’s emergent reading ability and allow for the early identification of reading difficulties. Part A contains 20 items, designed to assess the word recognition skills of First Class pupils. Part B is made up of 12 sets of nonsense words which are intended to tap children’s phonological awareness and decoding ability. Phonological awareness is an important skill domain that has been given particular emphasis in the English area of the revised Primary School Curriculum. Crucially, skill at decoding nonsense words has been shown to be an excellent predictor of later reading ability. The final section, Part C, is composed of 18 items which assess pupils’ reading comprehension.
The entire 50-item test, as well as practice items for Part C, can be easily administered by teachers in less than one hour.
Although not specifically developed for use with Senior Infants, Level 1 can nonetheless be used during the final term of Senior Infants in classes where the pupils are of average or above average ability.