Ages: 6-0 through 24-11 years
Testing Time: 5-10 minutes
The Test of Word Reading Efficiency (TOWRE) was originally
published in 1999 to meet the need for a quick and reliable way to
assess efficiency of sight word recognition and phonemic decoding in
children and adults. Its purpose was to provide professionals in schools
and clinics with a reliable and valid measure of fluency and accuracy
of print-based word-reading skills.
Since its publication, the TOWRE has been popular with professionals
in psychology and education. It has been featured in over 200 research
reports focusing on various aspects of reading and language development
in normal and clinical populations. The test received two positive
reviews in the Mental Measurements Yearbook, and has been discussed in numerous books and articles devoted to current assessment practices for schools and clinics.
Changes to the TOWRE–2
All new normative data were collected in 2008 and 2009. The
demographic characteristics of the sample conform to those of the
population reported in the Statistical Abstract of the United States
and are, therefore, representative of the U.S. population.
Additional word lists have been added to both TOWRE–2 subtests, so
that each of them now has a total of four equivalent forms. This will
make the test more useful for monitoring progress and evaluating the
impact of instructional interventions. Along with the new forms of each
subtest, the manual presents extensive information required to evaluate
the educational and statistical meaning of changes in performance that
may occur from one testing to another.
The manual has been extensively revised and provides much new
information about the validity and reliability of the TOWRE–2. Data
from numerous independent research studies have been aggregated to
provide strong evidence for the construct validity of the TOWRE–2 as
well as its utility in diagnostic assessments of children with reading
disabilities and other handicapping conditions. Extensive data are also
reported in easy-to-access tabular form to show how each of the
subtests of the TOWRE–2 is related to other prominent tests of reading
Description of the TOWRE–2
The Test of Word Reading Efficiency–Second Edition (TOWRE–2)
is a measure of an individual’s ability to pronounce printed words
(Sight Word Efficiency) and phonemically regular nonwords (Phonemic
Decoding Efficiency) accurately and fluently. Because it can be
administered very quickly, the test provides an efficient means of
monitoring the growth of two kinds of word reading skill that are
critical in the development of overall reading ability.
Each of the two subtests of the TOWRE–2 has four alternate forms, A
through D. The Sight Word Efficiency (SWE) subtest assesses the number
of real words printed in vertical lists that an individual can
accurately identify within 45 seconds. Similarly, the Phonemic Decoding
Efficiency (PDE) subtest measures the number of pronounceable nonwords
presented in vertical lists that an individual can accurately decode
within 45 seconds. The four forms of each subtest are of equivalent
difficulty, and any of the forms of each subtest may be given depending
on the purposes of the assessment. If only one form of each test is
used, the test can be administered in approximately 5 minutes, including
time for directions and practice items.
The TOWRE–2 was normed on over 1,700 individuals ranging in age from 6Uses for the TOWRE–2
to 24 years and residing in 12 states and Washington, DC. Over 700
children in the norming sample attended elementary school (through Grade
5), where the TOWRE–2 is expected to have its widest use. The average
alternate forms reliability coefficients (content sampling) for the
subtests exceed .90. The average test–retest (time sampling)
coefficients for the same form exceed .90. The average test–retest (time
sampling) coefficients for different forms of the subtests are .87. The
magnitude of the coefficients reported from all the reliability studies
evidenced little measurement error in the TOWRE–2. The numerous
reliability and validity studies presented in the manual provide the
examiner with strong evidence concerning the strengths and limitations
of the scores provided by the test.
The current edition of the TOWRE has been widely used for three different purposes:
Early identification. The TOWRE–2 can be used in
identifying children in the early elementary grades who will require
more intensive or explicit instruction in word reading skills in order
to make adequate progress in learning to read.
Diagnosis of reading disabilities. The test is also
being widely used as part of a battery of tests for diagnosis of
specific reading disabilities in older children and adults. The TOWRE–2
can be used either as a replacement for or as a supplement to standard
diagnostic tests of context-free word reading ability currently in use.
Research. Since its publication in 1999, the TOWRE
has been widely used in research as a quick and reliable assessment of
word-level reading skills in both large and small research populations.
We hope that the TOWRE–2, with the creation of two additional test
forms (Forms C and D) for each subtest, will have at least one
additional use beyond those already enumerated. The report of the
National Reading Panel in 2000 indicated that frequent monitoring of
growth in essential reading skills is important in the delivery of
effective reading instruction for all students. Frequent assessment of
critical reading skills is also a central aspect of the popular Response
to Intervention model of service delivery. Although the TOWRE–2 has not
been developed to provide weekly or monthly assessments, it certainly
can be used to monitor progress in growth of word-level reading skills
three or four times per year.
Complete TOWRE–2 Kit Includes: Examiner’s
Manual, Form A Word Cards, Form B Word Cards, Form C Word Cards, Form D
Word Cards, 25 Form A Examiner Record Booklets, 25 Form B Examiner
Record Booklets, and 25 Response to Intervention Booklets, all in a
sturdy storage box.