Instructional Reading Level (IRL)

Instructional Reading Level is calculated after a student completes a Star Reading test; it is a criterion-referenced score that is the highest reading level at which a student is 80% proficient (or higher) at comprehending material with assistance. Research has found that this level of comprehension corresponds to being at least 90–98% proficient at recognizing words; Star Reading does not directly assess word recognition.

As a criterion-referenced score, IRL is not the same as the norm-referenced Grade Equivalent score, but the two correspond somewhat fairly at some grade levels.

Instructional Reading Levels are:

  • Pre-Primer (PP)
  • Primer (P)
  • 1 through 12
  • Post-High School (PHS)

For example, a student receives a 215 Scaled Score (SS) on Star Reading. Her IRL is 1.6, indicating she can likely recognize 90 to 98 percent of the words and comprehend 80 percent of the text that students in the middle of first grade are expected to recognize and comprehend. Her GE is slightly higher, at a 2.1, telling us that having the ability to read text at a 1.6 level with instructional assistance is actually about average for second graders at the beginning of the school year.

If the educator wants to know what level of instructional materials a student should be using for ongoing classroom instruction, the IRL is the preferred score. Instructional materials at a slightly lower level than GE can help the student focus on learning the skills and content rather than decoding words.

Related video: AssessMinutes—Instructional Reading Levels

IRL can be found on the following reports: