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 Assessments — Reading

Nelson-Denny Reading Test—Forms I and J (NDRT)

Author: Vivian Vick Fishco, MS

  • Reading Comprehension
  • Ages: High School; 2-Year and 4 Year College
  • Testing Time: 35-56 minutes
  • Administration: Individual or Group; Manual or Online Scoring

The Nelson-Denny Reading Test Form I and J is a valid and reliable measure of silent reading vocabulary, comprehension, and rate. It includes two parallel forms (Form I and Form J) that have been equated and can be used interchangeably as pretests and post-tests.

Core Subtests and Composite

  • Vocabulary—Students are presented with an opening statement and five answer choices such as "A chef works with A. bricks B. music C. clothes D. food E. statues." Students select the option that best completes the opening statement.
  • Comprehension—The Comprehension subtest consists of 7 reading passages and 36 comprehension questions, each with 5 answer choices, drawn from current textbooks in Humanities, Science, and Social Sciences. Students are instructed to read as many passages and answer as many comprehension questions as they can.
  • General Reading Ability—This composite is derived by combining index scores from the Vocabulary and Comprehension subtests to achieve a stronger and more reliable index of reading ability.

Supplemental Subtest

  • Reading Rate—The Reading Rate score is obtained by requesting students to record the number in the margin that corresponds to the last sentence they were reading in Passage 1 of the Comprehension subtest after exactly 1 minute. Students are instructed to read at their normal rate—neither faster nor slower than usual.


  • Aids in accurate placement of high school and college students at all reading levels
  • Uses all new vocabulary items and comprehension passages drawn from current high school and college texts
  • Offers optional extended-time administration to meet the needs of special populations, such as English language learners
  • Yields scores as grade and age equivalents, percentile ranks, and index scores (mean of 100, standard deviation of 15)
  • Based on all new normative data collected between 2013 and 2018
  • Reports all new reliability and validity studies, including new studies of differential item

Functioning and Diagnostic Accuracy

  • Provides all new passage dependence evidence indicating 90% of the Comprehension items are passage dependent
  • Includes self-scorable answer sheets and complimentary online scoring using a fully HIPPA/FERPA compliant, secure and encrypted cloud-based environment.

Statistical Characteristics

Age-based normative data (N = 4,010) are provided for students ages 14 years 0 months (14-0) through 24 years 11 months (24-11) enrolled in high school, two-year, or four-year university programs. Grade-based normative data (N = 3,487) are provided for students of any age who are enrolled in high school, two-year, or four-year university programs. The normative samples were stratified to match 2017 U.S. population estimates. For both forms, average internal consistency (content sampling) reliability coefficients range from .85 to .95 (very large to nearly perfect). Average alternate form reliability ranges from .88 to .94 (very large to nearly perfect). Average test-retest reliability ranges from .89 to .98 (very large to nearly perfect). Correlations with well-known reading measures range from .47 to .84 (moderate to very large). Diagnostic accuracy studies indicate the NDRT is able to accurately identify students with reading difficulties (i.e., sensitivity = .73, specificity = .80, ROC/AUC = .88) with few false positives.

Online Administration Scoring and Report System for 50 users is provided as part of the complete kit.
The test forms include a one-of a-kind activation code that is required for scoring.
It is very important that the activation code included with the forms is not lost or thrown away as it will not be replaced or refunded.



Item No.






Test Kit: Examiner's Manual, 25 Form I Test Booklets, 25 Form J Test Booklets, 50 Self-Scorable Answer Sheets, Administration Instructions, and optional Online Scoring and Report System


Components (Sold Separately)

Item No.






25 Form I Test Booklets with Admin Instructions



25 Form J Test Booklets with Admin Instructions



50 Forms I and J Self-Scorable Answer Sheets


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