All Morris Kindergarten and first grade students take the DIBELS test (Dynamic Indicators of Basic Early Literacy Skills) three times each year. The Dynamic Indicators of Basic Early Literacy Skills (DIBELS) is a formative early literacy assessment created by Dr. Ronald Good and Dr. Ruth Kaminski (Kaminski & Good, 2009) of the Dynamic Measurement Group. Research about this type of testing was first done at the University of Oregon (Kaminski, & Good, 2009). It is used by kindergarten through sixth grade teachers in the United States to screen for whether students are at risk of reading difficulty, and to monitor student progress and guide instruction.
The DIBELS comprise a developmental sequence of one-minute measures: recognizing initial sounds, naming the letters of the alphabet, segmenting the phonemes in a word, reading nonsense words, oral reading of a passage, retelling, and word use. The measures assess phonological awareness, the alphabetic principle, accuracy and fluency in reading tesxt, vocabulary and comprehension (Kaminski, & Good, 2009). DIBELS results can be used to evaluate individual student development, as well as to provide feedback on effectiveness of instruction.
Explanation of DEIBELS Subtests
Description of the NWF Measure
The DIBELS Nonsense Word Fluency (NWF) is a standardized test that is given to students 1:1. The student is presented an 8.5' x 11' sheet of paper with randomly ordered VC and CVC nonsense words (e.g., sig, rav, ov) and asked to produce verbally the individual letter sound of each letter or verbally produce, or read, the whole nonsense word. For example, if the word is "vaj" the student could say /v/ /a/ /j/ or say the word /vaj/ to obtain a total of three letter-sounds correct. The student is allowed 1 minute to produce as many letter-sounds as he/she can, and the final score is the number of letter-sounds produced correctly in one minute.
Description of the PSF Measure
The DIBELS Phoneme Segmentation Fluency (PSF) is a standardized test that is given to students 1:1. The PSF task is administered by the examiner orally presenting words of three to four phonemes. It requires the student to produce verbally the individual phonemes for each word. For example, the examiner says "sat," and the student says "/s/ /a/ /t/" to receive three possible points for the word. After the student responds, the examiner presents the next word, and the number of correct phonemes produced in one minute determines the final score. The PSF measure takes about 2 minutes to administer and has over 20 alternate forms for monitoring progress.
Description of the ORF and RTF Measures
DIBELS Oral Reading Fluency (ORF) is a standardized test that is given to students 1:1. ORF is a standardized set of reading passages and administration procedures designed to (a) identify children who may need additional instructional support, and (b) monitor progress toward instructional goals. The passages are calibrated for the goal level of reading for each grade level. Student performance is measured by having students read a passage aloud for one minute. Words omitted, substituted, and hesitations of more than three seconds are scored as errors. Words self-corrected within three seconds are scored as accurate. The number of correct words per minute from the passage in the oral reading fluency score. DEBELS ORF includes both benchmark passages to be used as screening assessments across the school year as well as 20 alternate forms for monitoring progress.