Gates-MacGinitie Reading Test Scores

Instructor: Bill Sands
The Gates-MacGinitie Tests measure students' vocabulary and reading comprehension skills. Keep reading for an overview of the types of tests scores available and learn what the results are used for.

Gates-MacGinitie Reading Test Scores

The Gates-MacGinitie Reading Test is offered at several different levels, which might be administered at the beginning and end of each school year. Scores for the beginning and early independent test levels measure kindergarten and 1st grade students' comprehension of key language concepts and their ability to understand commonly used words.

Test levels 1 through 10/12 assess the reading comprehension and vocabulary skills of students in grades 2-12. There's also an adult reading level for community colleges and other institutions.

Reading Test Score Types

While raw scores (the number of questions answered correctly) do have some use, they do not always tell the whole story. In addition to raw scores, students receive the following score types:

  • Extended Scale Score (ESS)
  • Normal Curve Equivalent (NCE)
  • Percentile Rank (PR)
  • Grade Equivalent (GE)

This assessment features different levels that do not share a common format. Extended scale scores, however, allow teachers and parents to compare a student's performance across different levels of the reading test and track his or her performance over the years.

Measures such as the Normal Curve Equivalent, Percentile Rank and Grade Equivalent also explain how a student performed relative to other students who have taken the same assessment.

Score Reporting

Online versions of the test are offered for levels 1 through 10/12 as well as the adult reading level. Results for these tests are available within 24 hours of the testing period.

For paper-based tests, answers are recorded in hand-scored testing booklets that a school grades themselves or in machine-scored testing booklets that must be delivered to Houghton Mifflin Harcourt's Scoring Service (the company that designs the exam) where they will be scanned and scored. As a result, the reporting times for paper-based tests take a bit longer.

Using the Results

Teachers can use reading test results along with other types of classroom evaluations to ensure students are receiving the proper level of reading instruction. Scores might benefit teachers attempting to place students in instructional groups, pinpoint areas where students could benefit from some extra guidance, or identify students who might need additional diagnostic tests to identify any reading or learning disabilities.

Teachers and parents alike might also use test scores to select reading materials that are appropriate for a student's ability level, since results can now be used to determine a student's Lexile measure.

Preparing for the Gates-MacGinitie

As the Gates-MacGinitie is meant to measure a student's skill level, there are not many study guides available. Unlike state subject area assessments, which act as a final test to determine how well a student has retained material, the Gates-MacGinitie Reading Test is used to determine a student's strengths and weaknesses. Extensive studying is not necessarily discouraged, but it may result in a score that is not representative of a student's overall reading comprehension level.

This does not mean, however, that you have no options. has a number of resources that can help students brush up on crucial skills before taking this test. This English Language Arts course focuses on the development and cultivation of reading comprehension skills for a variety of different text types.

Teachers and parents interested in developing students' skills in certain areas once they receive test results can also use this Instructional Strategies for Teaching Reading Comprehension course.

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