What is the difference between IRL and GE?
The Instructional Reading Level (IRL) is a
criterion-referenced score. It provides an estimate of the grade level of
written material with which the student can most effectively be taught. While
the IRL, like any test result, is simply an estimate, it provides a useful
indication of the material on which the student should be receiving
instruction. For example, if a student (regardless of current grade placement)
receives a STAR Reading IRL of 4.0, this indicates that the student can most
likely learn without experiencing too many difficulties when using materials
written to be on a fourth-grade level.
The IRL is estimated based on the student's pattern of
responses to the STAR Reading items. A given student's IRL is the highest-grade
level of items at which the student can correctly answer at least 80% of the
items. The IRL references each student's STAR Reading performance to the
difficulty of written material. This is valuable information in planning the
instructional program for individuals or groups of students.
The Grade Equivalent (GE) is a norm-referenced score. It
provides a comparison of a student's performance with that of other students
around the nation. If a student receives a GE of 4.0, this means that the
student scored as well on the STAR Reading test as did the typical student at
the beginning of grade 4. It does not mean that the student can read books that
are written at a fourth-grade level – only that he or she reads as well as a
fourth-grade student in the norms group.
In general, IRLs and GEs will differ. These differences are
caused by the fact that the two score metrics are designed to provide different
information. That is, IRLs estimate the level of text that student can read
with some instructional assistance; GEs express a student’s performance in
terms of the grade level for which that performance is typical. Usually, a
student's GE will be higher than the IRL.
STAR Reading is a trademark
of Renaissance Learning, Inc. and its subsidiaries, registered, common law, or pending registration in the United States and other countries.