List of Effective Reading Level Tests for Adults

Literacy proficiency is divided into five levels, starting from Level 1 to Level 5. When we say a person has a specific reading level, it means they have the ability to read text written corresponding to that level of English. In America, 1 in 5 adults can read and comprehend at a proficiency level of 1 and below. This means that adults in this group struggle to read books and other print materials.

As we know, reading ability is important to succeed in all spheres of life, it becomes vital for every person to work on various types of reading skills so they can turn into better readers. But before you begin your journey to enhance your reading ability, you must know which reading level you’re currently on. Only then will you know what areas you need to improve.

At school, educators have multiple ways of determining the reading level of a student. But for adults, the best way to know your reading ability is to take a test. A reading level test is created to help candidates understand their reading level. It measures parameters like fluency, vocabulary, and how well they can comprehend a given text.

By knowing what level of text you’re comfortable reading, you can select books that you can easily understand and enjoy reading. Plus, you can also buy books one level higher than your current level if you’re eager to put in effort to improve your reading proficiency. 

Ready to learn about the different tests you can take to find your current reading level? Let’s explore your options!

Reading level tests best suited for adults 

1. Reading Level Test by EnglishClub

Reading level tests are either free or cost a couple of dollars to appear for the test. For those of you who would like to opt for a free test, we have the Reading Level Test by EnglishClub. This fifteen-minutes test assesses your ability to comprehend a given text while you read it. The faster you understand what you’re reading, the better your reading and comprehension skills. You will answer a total of twenty questions, depending on which your score is calculated. 

You will be given a percentage-based score that you can match with the table provided in the end to determine your reading level. For example, a score of 20-25% indicates Level 1 proficiency, whereas scores between 90-95% are considered upper advanced reading ability or Level 5.

2. The Reading Test by Oxford Online English

This test is again a free test which also encompasses twenty questions. What makes it different from the previous one is that it is not restricted to sentences. In fact, you get a big passage to read and then are required to answer questions based on the passage. Your performance on the test will depend on how well you read and comprehend the passage. 

Since it is not a time-bound test, you have nothing to worry about. Take your time to go through the text and begin answering only when you’re ready. Once you finish the test, the number of questions you’ve answered correctly is revealed along with your reading level. 

3. Macmillan Readers Level Test

 Macmillan Readers Level Test

This test by Macmillan Readers is a quick test designed for readers to evaluate their reading level. Comprising only seven questions, it is one of the shortest tests you can take to assess how well you can read. All questions are picture-based, which means a picture is also provided along with the question, and it serves as a clue to the answer. The questions can be in the format of “fill in the blank” or a regular question. 

The best aspect of taking this test is that after your reading level is shared with you, you will be directed to reading material according to your score. However, do note that all books they have are in British English. You may get some of those if you like or get books meant for your proficiency level from your local library. 

4. Oxford Bookworms and Dominoes Level Tests

Oxford Bookworms and Dominoes Level Tests

Check your reading level by taking a test offered by Oxford Bookworms and Dominoes. For the benefit of readers, they have created tests for different reading levels, right from starter level to Level 6. You can take any of these tests depending on what you think is your present level. Every level has two tests with passages and drop-down boxes between the sentences to select the correct answer. Both tests are marked out of 30. 

Your score will tell you whether you are on the right reading level. Suppose you score anywhere between 0-23, it means the reading level is difficult for you, and you must try reading books that are a level below. All in all, these tests are great for precisely finding your present reading level. 

5. Lexile Quiz

Try this fun test to determine your reading level. All you have to do is attempt ten multiple-choice questions in the test. Questions vary in type and difficulty level. Those who score a 100% can proudly say they are at the master level. If you land between 50-70%, you’re at a standard level, and anything below it means you’re still at the beginning level, so you need to work more on these skills. 

The fun part of this test is that you receive a certificate of achievement at the end of the test. It is available for download after you customize it by entering your name. Interesting! Isn’t it? So, try this test so you can help yourself reach the master level soon.  

6. ACTFL Reading Proficiency Test

Here is a paid test that assesses a person’s reading ability in a particular language. It aims to determine a person’s reading fluency when presented with a spontaneous text. As the test is suitable to establish a wide range of reading proficiency in grade 12 students and adults, it is devised accordingly. The test is conducted online and comprises multiple-choice questions, which candidates must answer in a given time frame. You will get anywhere between 50-125 minutes for the test based on the category of test you are attempting. 

If you want to advance your career and are looking for proper certification for your reading skills, this test may be a good choice for you. It will cost you $51 to appear for the ACTFL Reading Proficiency Test (RPT). 

7. Read Forward

Read Forward

Your English reading skills shouldn’t be restricted to US English alone. You can always try resources from other countries, like this one from Canada. The only difference you will encounter is how some words are spelled differently. Using Read Forward, you can evaluate your reading skills and take steps to improve if required. 

The resource has six levels of reading tests, and the difficulty level rises from the first to the last test. There are several tests at one level that you can attempt at your own pace. Since this is a pen-and-paper format test, you will need to download the file and print it before taking the test. The resource also provides answer keys to know where you went wrong. 

8. Nelson-Denny Reading Test

The NDRT I & J, or the Nelson-Denny Reading Test, Forms I & J, tests a person’s reading rate, vocabulary, and comprehension skills. It is available in two formats – online and paper and pencil. So, you can choose the one you’re comfortable with. The test will require only 35 to 56 minutes of your time to assess your reading ability.

Coming to the format of the test, it is divided into two subcategories – vocabulary and comprehension. The vocabulary section consists of simple opening sentences, which you need to complete by selecting the best choice from the five options provided. In the comprehension section, there are seven passages and 36 related questions. In addition, there is also an optional Reading Rate subtest so candidates can record the number of words they can read in a minute at their normal speed. 

9. Diagnostic Assessments of Reading (DAR – 2)

This test helps establish a person’s reading level by assessing areas of fluency, accuracy, spelling, phonological awareness, word recognition, word analysis, and more. In 30 to 45 minutes, one can know how well they can read and identify areas that need improvement.

As the test is available as a kit, it can be conducted for individual candidates or a group of adults. You get question books and response record forms for students, along with a teacher’s manual and software with Trial Teaching Strategies. The fact that this test bundle is obtainable as a kit makes it apt for adult literacy programs and special education. 

10. Wide Range Achievement Test

The fifth edition of the Wide Range Achievement Test, or WRAT5, is not just a test for reading ability but also covers math skills. But one has the option of appearing for only the subtests they’re interested in. For assessment of reading level, you can only take the word reading and sentence comprehension subtests. Upon completion of the test, you get a Reading Composite score by combining the scores of the two subtests.

The test is available as a written and online test, and it takes around 35 to 45 minutes to complete. Overall, this easy-to-administer test with clear scoring guidelines is useful in testing the reading capabilities of individuals and determining the possibility of learning disabilities. 

Summing up, 

Reading level tests are a quick way to find out how well you can read and derive meaning from it. By estimating the level of your reading ability, you can take a step ahead to achieve the next level so you build your skills and efficiently perform tasks that involve reading. So if you are also considering taking these tests, you better not wait any longer and get started right away! All tests discussed in this article except one are available online, so you won’t have to go through the pen-and-paper hassle. 

Just take some time out, sit in a quiet room, and appear for one of the tests. You will only need a few minutes to discover your actual reading level. And once you know what it is, you can put your energy into improving yourself. Do try our reading games and reading comprehension activities as well to level up your efforts. With time and practice, you will soon become a better reader. Happy reading!

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