Reading and Writing

, Volume 32, Issue 4, pp 1009–1035 | Cite as

Accuracy in identifying students’ miscues during oral reading: a taxonomy of scorers’ mismarkings

  • Deborah K. ReedEmail author
  • Kelli D. Cummings
  • Andrew Schaper
  • Devon Lynn
  • Gina Biancarosa


Informal reading inventories (IRI) and curriculum-based measures of reading (CBM-R) have continued importance in instructional planning, but raters have exhibited difficulty in accurately identifying students’ miscues. To identify and tabulate scorers’ mismarkings, this study employed examiners and raters who scored 15,051 words from 108 passage readings by students in Grades 5 and 6. Word-by-word scoring from these individuals was compared with a consensus score obtained from the first author and two graduate students after repeated replaying of the audio from the passage readings. Microanalysis conducted on all discrepancies identified a cumulative total of 929 mismarkings (range = 1–37 per passage) that we categorized in 37 unique types. Examiners scoring live made significantly more mismarkings than raters scoring audio recordings, t(214) = 4.35, p = .0001, with an effect size of d = 0.59. In 98% of the passages, scorers disagreed on the number of words read correctly—the score used for screening and progress monitoring decisions. Results suggest that IRIs and CBM-Rs may not be accurate as diagnostic tools for determining students’ particular word-level difficulties.


Informal reading inventories Curriculum based measures Scorers’ errors Miscues 



This research was supported in part by Project HiFi: Promoting High Fidelity of Screening and Progress Monitoring (U.S. Department of Education, Institute of Education Sciences [IES], SBIR Phase I, EDIES-13-C-0038). The opinions expressed are those of the authors and do not represent view of the U.S. Department of Education or IES.


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Copyright information

© Springer Nature B.V. 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Deborah K. Reed
    • 1
    Email author
  • Kelli D. Cummings
    • 2
  • Andrew Schaper
    • 3
  • Devon Lynn
    • 4
  • Gina Biancarosa
    • 5
  1. 1.Iowa Reading Research CenterUniversity of IowaIowa CityUSA
  2. 2.University of MarylandCollege ParkUSA
  3. 3.Colorado Department of EducationDenverUSA
  4. 4.Florida State UniversityTallahasseeUSA
  5. 5.University of OregonEugeneUSA

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