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Reading educators (Cheek & Cheek, 1983; Roe, Stoodt, & Burns, 1978) urge secondary teachers to use informal reading inventories (IRIs) in order to diagnose students' reading problems and to place students in textbooks at appropriate levels to optimize instruction. Advice of this nature is surely well-intended; nevertheless, educators have reservations about the merits of available IRIs. For example, readability levels of IRI passages (Gerke, 1980), passage dependency of questions (Marr & Lyon, 1980; Tuinman, 1971), classification of questions (Shell & Hanna, 1981), scoring criteria (Bormuth, 1969), validity (Cooper, 1952; Powell, 1971), and allowable errors or miscues (Ekwall, 1971; Harris & Sipay, 1980) have been the focus of serious questions by reading researchers.

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