Who wrote the PROBE2 stories?

Catherine Parkin wrote thirty eight of the forty original stories in PROBE2.  Hard Tack was written by Barnaby Parkin (Oxford, UK) and The Big Race by Samuel Parkin (London, UK).

Who can purchase a PROBE2 Assessment kit?

PROBE2 is only sold to recognised educational institutions and educational specialists - such as support/resource teachers, advisors, speech pathologists and psychologists.

They are only to be used for legitimate assessment purposes,  i.e. not as a teaching/upskilling resource. 

What is the PROBE2 Supplementary kit?

NO.  It is not an 'additional' set of stories.

The PROBE2 Supplementary kit is the same
as the PROBE2 Reading Comprehension Assessment kit, except it doesn't have the copymasters.  

It was produced to allow schools with a limited budget to have multiple PROBE2 Reading Comprehension Assessment kits at a more affordable price.

Who can purchase the PROBE2 Supplementary kit?

The school must have at least one full PROBE2 kit. 
Can only be used within the one school/campus.

What parts of the PROBE2 manual can be copied?

PART 1:  Guide
PART 2:  Determiner
PART 3:  Answers

PART 4:  Copymasters
However, copies can only be made (directly) from copymasters  in a legally purchased PROBE 2 manual.  NO copies of copies. 

1. reformat any part of this resource
2. alter the texts or questions
3. add any illustrations
4. digitally reproduce all or any part of this resource.

Can I copy the Student Texts book?


Can I purchase extra PROBE2 Student Texts books?


For Option 4 (only)
For secondary/high school students or adults (only)
These will have to be requested from Triune Initiatives directly.

Triune or its agents (e.g. ACER Press) 
are likely to question the purpose of the request.
They will refuse to sell if they believe the assessment will be compromised.

Can PROBE2 components be purchased separately?

Individual components cannot be purchased.
However, replacement parts can (because of damage or loss). 
Proof of previous purchase may be required.

Can I purchase extra Students' Guide CD's
How much time is needed to assess a student?

Factors that may affect the time taken are:
- age of student.
- speed of student’s reading.
- your own level of familiarity with the assessment.

Assessing one student normally takes 15 – 30 minutes.

If you haven’t used this test before or if the student has had no previous PROBE assessment result the time taken will be on the high side. 
The use of the PROBE Determiner can certainly speed up the time it takes - particularly once you learn how to use this pre-test effectively. 
Sometimes you may use around 5 or 6 PROBE texts to establish a reading age.
Other times it may be 3 or 4.
If you have assessed a student previously it will take less time, as you are simply moving forward from the last result.

How many times in a year should I assess with PROBE?

It depends on the setting you are working in, the amount of time you can commit and the comprehension teaching you are doing.
The short answer is at least twice a year.

You should be aiming to have at least a pre and post assessment. The pre-test is to find out what your students' strengths and weaknesses are and what direction your comprehension teaching programme needs to take - whether it is with a whole class, a group or an individual.

The pre-assessment could be conducted at the beginning of the year or at the beginning of a significant teaching time.

The post test is to measure improvement. This could be conducted at the end of the year or at the end of a significant teaching time.

Some teachers find it useful to assess part way through a programme to check that they are making measurable progress.

Just be careful that you don't overtest.

Can I use PROBE with students under 7 years old?

The answer is: NO, YES and YES

NO: If a child is at the emergent level, or has a very limited reading vocabulary.

YES: Use Option 3 (Listening Comprehension) if you suspect the child’s understanding of texts may be higher than his or her ability to independently read the words.

YES: Use Option 1 (Informal Prose Inventory) if you have children with a high decoding ability to check if their comprehension is equally high.

FOR EXAMPLE: A six-year-old has an 10-11 year decoding age. PROBE Reading Assessment indicates an 8-9 year reading age. (A PROBE reading age being a combination of decoding & comprehension)

The result suggests that the main focus of the guided reading program for this child should be on comprehension. The texts do not have to have high decoding levels for the purpose.

Words in high level texts may be easily read by younger children, but the concepts can be beyond them.

When do I stop an assessment?

You keep testing until they fail.  (below 96% decoding 70% comprehension).

Their best pass is recorded as their independent level.

Find both a fiction and non-fiction result.

Part of a question is correct - do I give a 1/2 mark?

NO. A half mark should never be given.

When there is a two part question (when the first part is closed e.g. responding yes/no) both parts must be answered correctly.

The student must qualify the initial response using information contained in the text. It is the second part of the answer that shows whether the student has comprehended the text or not.

If a student answers ‘yes’ or ‘no’ correctly, it may only be a guess. Their next response will tell whether this is so.

The second part of the answer must show clearly that the student is using relevant information.


Is an almost correct answer right? Should I give a 1/2 mark?

NO. You are in danger of falling into the sympathy trap – where you think they deserve a mark (or half mark) for trying or for coming close to the correct answer.

This defeats the purpose of the assessment.

Remember you are trying to find out what they know and what they need to learn. Your analysis of the answer will show you what they are missing in their answer, which gives you a teaching point.

Marking a question right when it is wrong means that the teaching opportunity has been missed.

You can ask:
•  Can you tell me more?
•  Can you show me where it says that?

These questions are objective, and do not influence the student’s thinking in any way. The response will show you whether they really understand or not.

How do I use the PROBE key words?

The key words have been provided to help you know when an answer is correct and to understand why it is correct.  They will also help you to understand why an answer is incorrect. 

When a student’s answer differs from that/those given in the answer section of the manual, ask the student why, or how, they decided on this answer. 

If they have used the text to get the answer (and this is what they must do), some or all of their words will match the key words.  

If their words do not match the keywords then you know they have used something other than the text. The answer must be wrong. 

A match does not mean the exact wording – even though the words are in view, students can paraphrase. 

If you are not sure if their paraphrasing is suitable, ask them to clarify by using a neutral question such as:
“Why do you say that?”

or say “Show me where it says that.”

How is a decoding age different from a reading age?

A decoding age is not the same as a reading age.  Decoding is reading the words.   A reading age is a measure of the level of understanding drawn from the words. 

If a student can read words at a 12 year decoding level, but understands at a 10 year level, then the reading age is considered to be 10 years. 

Anything they read above that level is not absorbed and cannot be considered to have been read successfully.

What does 'decoding age' mean?

Decoding means translating, or extracting meaning from written symbols.  When reading we must decode the symbols that make up words. 

Words are graded by levels of difficulty.  The first 100 words, sometimes referred to as the basic sight words, are relatively easily learned or decoded.  

They have a high frequency of use and are therefore seen often.   A decoding age of a text is a measure of the difficulty of the words in a text.  The simpler the words, the lower the decoding age. 

A student's decoding age is only an indication of the level at which words can be read.

It is not an indication of an ability to comprehend the meaning of those words.