Introducing the new edition of Salford Sentence Reading and Comprehension Test (SSRCT)

The Salford Sentence Reading and Comprehension Test (SSRCT), formally known as the New Salford Sentence Reading Test, or just ‘The Salford’ to some, was first published in 1976. Originally developed by Geoffrey Bookbinder, then head of the Reading Advisory Service in Salford, it provided a quick and accurate measure of reading and appealed to teachers for its simplicity of administration and scoring.

Why are we publishing a new edition?

The test was last updated and re-standardised in 2011, before curriculum change in 2014, and because of its ongoing popularity in schools, we decided it was time for a new edition that could further meet the needs of both primary and secondary teachers.

SSRCT is the ideal test to get a quick measure of a pupil’s reading and comprehension ability. It’s a test that you can just ‘pull out the cupboard’ and, post-pandemic, schools are looking for time-saving assessments to track the impact of reading interventions. SSRCT also provides a way to monitor the smaller steps of progress some pupils may be making in a meaningful way.

What updates have we made?

  • The name! We’ve added ‘comprehension’ to the test’s title, as not only does SSRCT allow you to quickly assess a pupil’s reading ability, it tests their comprehension ability too, and lets you compare their reading accuracy to their comprehension. We wanted teachers to know about this!
  • It was fully re-standardised in spring 2022; 5,980 pupils from 78 schools were involved in the trial which means we have been able to increase the test’s age range from 5–14 to 5­–16.
  • There are now 20 sentences per form to improve the reliability of the assessment at both ends of the reading ability scale.
  • An additional comprehension question accompanies every sentence to test pupils’ vocabulary alongside their literal comprehension and inference.
  • New administration guidance helps teachers deliver SSRCT as a listening comprehension test for pupils unable to read the first sentence, so you can still measure their understanding.
  • The first four sentences are informed by SSP (systematic synthetic phonics model).
  • Access to free marksheets and reporting on My Assessment and Reporting Kit (MARK) is included when you purchase the test.

What makes this test great for schools?

  • It’s a quick, reliable assessment of reading and comprehension ability for less-able readers, taking no more than 10 minutes per pupil. It can also be used as a quick screening tool for larger groups.
  • It’s easy to use and can be administered by teaching assistants and support staff.
  • The test is ideal for pupils who might not perform as well in a written test, as pupils read aloud, helping to give a picture of their true ability in a low-stress way.
  • There are three parallel forms (A, B and C) so progress can be tracked term to term, or more frequently if necessary.
  • It provides teachers with age-standardised scores and standardised scores for reading accuracy and comprehension, as well as reading ages and comprehension ages. This data can then help inform any reading interventions, and pupils can be assessed with SSRCT again at the end of an intervention to track the impact it’s had and what progress has been made.
  • It can be used as a first step reading assessment to help determine if a pupil needs to be assessed further with Diagnostic Reading Analysis (DRA)

What teachers are saying so far

“…The resources were high quality and are designed in a way that they do not take too long to mark which in a time of managing teacher wellbeing is a key consideration. The information generated is extremely useful to monitor progress, consider next steps for the children for our teaching and the standardised score element can be used to support SEN trackers, ECHP applications and even things such as special consideration applications in the end of key stage assessments.”

– Catrin Tingle, Nine Acres Primary (Trial School)

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English and Literacy, Intervention and SEN, literacy, Reading, SEN, SENCO, SEND

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