How was the TPRI Developed?
The current TPRI is the product of more than 10 years of development and studies conducted with more than 15,000 Texas students. Decisions about the modification of the TPRI have been made using data collected in recent studies of students, along with feedback from classroom teachers, and school and district administrators. While the TPRI maintains the overall design of previous versions, with separate Screening and Inventory Sections, the Screening Section has been revalidated at kindergarten, first and second grade, and many screening items have been replaced. The Inventory Section features an additional Word Reading task at each grade level and new items throughout, along with new stories and comprehension questions. The latter are the result of a rigorous development process roughly divided into two broad stages: 1) Story Development and 2) Story Piloting and Research.
New stories were written and studied for inclusion in the current TPRI. Representing a range of difficulty levels for each grade and written on a variety of topics of interest to students, the stories conform to specific guidelines for children’s literature. They were written to conform to specific word-level features based on what’s taught at each grade level. Narrative stories were written to include the following elements:
- Main character(s) – Who or what the story is mainly about.
- Setting – Where and when the story happens.
- Problem – What the main character wants or the problem that has to be solved.
- Major events – Most important things that happen to solve the problem.
- Outcome – Whether or not the problem is solved.
Expository texts that conform to informational text structure also were included. To determine what is typically taught, several reading series, district curriculum guides and reading standards (Texas Essential Knowledge and Skills, or TEKS, in Texas) were consulted. As a result, allowable word-level features do not reflect any one publisher’s or district’s scope and sequence, but rather the reading standards. After the stories were written, readability and lexile formulas were run.
Story Piloting and Research
Once written, the new stories were tested in a pilot study of about 3,000 Texas students. The study examined how accurately students read the stories orally, the fluency rate at which students read them and how well students were able to answer comprehension questions about the stories. (Kindergarten stories were read to kindergarten students.) Stories were selected from among those piloted based on which were most reliable in assessing accuracy, fluency and comprehension across all students who read (or listened to) the stories.
Grade Equivalents for TPRI Stories
The TPRI is not a norm-referenced instrument, so the stories do not have grade equivalents or percentile ranks. In the early grades, grade-equivalent scores are highly unreliable. Instead, the TPRI is criterion referenced. With respect to the stories, this means the phonic elements and story grammar elements increase in difficulty from grade 1 to 2. In grade 2, the vocabulary level also is higher and the sentence structure more complex. It’s unreliable to think in terms of grade equivalents, because a student who reads at the Frustrational Level on Story 1 at the beginning of the year, may read at grade level by the end of the year due to excellent instruction.
For more in-depth information about the TPRI and how it was developed, please click on Research.
TPRI Development Team
Original Authors of the K-2 TPRI
Jack M. Fletcher, Ph.D.
Barbara R. Foorman, Ph.D.
David J. Francis, Ph.D.
Additional TPRI Authors
Dennis J. Ciancio, Ph.D.
Kristi L. Santi, Ph.D.
Primary Contributors to the Current Edition
Keith A. Millner, M.A., Ed.M.
Sharon Kalinowski, M.Ed.