Information for parents

What is YARC?

The York Assessment of Reading for Comprehension (YARC) is a one-to-one, diagnostic reading assessment that measures pupils’ reading and comprehension skills from the beginning of primary school through to the end of secondary school. Results help teachers identify difficulties surrounding reading, enabling them to identify the appropriate ways to provide additional support or challenge. There are three parts to YARC which use differing approaches to test the reading ability of students of different ages.

The Early Reading assessment is suitable for use with pupils aged 4 to 7 and is comprised of four short tests which are designed to identify any underlying difficulties that pupils may be experiencing in acquiring knowledge of letter sounds and phoneme awareness, both of which are essential skills for reading acquisition. The tests involve various interactive tasks, which are performed in a one-to-one setting, such as identifying the sounds that individual letters make, as well as reading individual syllables and words.

The Passage Reading Primary assessment is suitable for use with pupils aged 5 to 11 and tests reading comprehension. Comprising fiction and non-fiction texts, it assesses accuracy, reading rate and comprehension in a single test. In a one-to-one setting, pupils read a passage aloud and are then asked questions regarding what they have read to test comprehension.

The Passage Reading Secondary assessment is suitable for use with students aged 11 to 16 and tests reading comprehension. Comprising a series of fiction and non-fiction passages the test assesses reading accuracy, fluency and comprehension. In a one-to-one setting, the student reads the passage silently and then answers the teacher’s questions regarding what they have read to test comprehension.

A version of our Single Word Reading Test is also included with the Passage Reading tests as a benchmarking test. The test has students read from a page of words, which increase in difficulty as the test progresses. From the raw score, the teacher can determine the appropriate starting passage for the Passage Reading assessment.

How is YARC used?

YARC provides teachers with information about the pupil’s reading age, as well as areas of weakness and strength. Using this information, teachers can identify ways to offer support to the pupil so that they can reach their full potential.

How does YARC compare to an exam?

Whilst administered under formal conditions, YARC is not a timed assessment and consists of a spoken test. Teachers are advised to spend a couple of minutes in general conversation with the pupil in order to ensure they are at ease before beginning. The teachers will offer introductory information at each stage of the assessment, and for younger pupils, will allow time for a break between sections of the assessment.

Should my child revise or train for YARC? Can I get practice tests?

We advise against any practicing or training in order to get a fair assessment of the student’s reading abilities at that moment in time. There are practice questions in the assessment to get students familiar with the task they are being asked to do.

Can I contact you with my questions about the test?

If you have any concerns or questions about the test, please contact your school. Please note that only schools can buy the YARC assessment.