To choose effective passages for measuring reading comprehension, analyze various passages to determine which reading comprehension skills they require, and choose the passages that properly test the particular skill on which you want to focus. Skills such as context identification and the ability to decode artificially constructed words are important aspects of the overall comprehension level of a reader.
Ideally, choose reading comprehension passages tailored to the students' experiences and interests. If a student lacks a strong interest or base of knowledge in a particular subject, she may not be able to perform as well on test passages as she would if the passage were related to one of her topics of interest.
When measuring reading comprehension, select only passages that are technically adequate, meaning that they provide a reliable assessment of students' levels. The accuracy and reliability of a test as well as the precision and validity of the measurement are contributing factors to technical adequacy.
Certain skills such as vocabulary recall, word decoding and reading speed contribute to overall reading comprehension. Evaluate these skills individually to gain a more complete understanding of a student's reading comprehension level. Also consider the format of the test; written answers to open-ended questions may involve unrelated writing skills.