DIBELS

The Dynamic Indicators of Basic Early Literacy Skills (DIBELS) are a set of procedures and measures for assessing the acquisition of early literacy skills from kindergarten through sixth grade. They are designed to be short (one minute) indicators used to regularly monitor the development of early literacy and early reading skills.

DIBELS were developed as indicators for several basic early literacy skills. Each measure has been thoroughly researched over the last few decades and demonstrated to be reliable and valid indicators for hundreds of thousands of students. Teachers use the measures to monitor early literacy development and predict later reading proficiency. This aids in the early identification of students who are not progressing as expected, so teachers can provide extra supports for those students. When used as recommended, results help set literacy objectives for students and then monitor progress toward those objectives.

DIBELS Next is used to assess the following skills:

  • Phonemic Awareness. The earliest literacy skill. FSF and PSF are measures that indicate students' abilities to hear, segment, and isolate the phonemes in words. This is a critical precursor to developing letter-sound relationships in print.
  • Alphabetic Principle and Basic Phonics. NWF is the measure that best indicates a student's knowledge and skills with phonics. Students' progress in figuring out unfamiliar words spans several years, from kindergarten to second grade.
  • Fluency. For each skill and measure, fluency is a goal. Students should develop reasonable automaticity with identifying letters and sounds, and putting words together. Enough fluency is needed so that a student's reading pace does not prohibit reading comprehension.
  • Advanced Phonics and Word Attack. NWF and DORF both help measure students' abilities to read texts that stretch beyond their sight-word vocabulary.
  • Accurate and Fluent Reading of Connected Text. DORF is the measure used to assess students' abilities to recognize and read words accurately and automatically. Students' progress in this area spans several years, from first to third grade.
  • Reading Comprehension. DAZE is the measure used to assess the students' abilities to construct meaning from text using word recognition skills, background information, prior knowledge, familiarity with linguistic properties such as syntax and morphology, and cause and effect reasoning skills. Students' progress in this area is monitored beginning in third grade.

PROCEDURES

Do Don’t
Talk to your Literacy Assistant if you have a concern about a student prior to testing Wait until after testing to express a concern

If a student is having a bad day, please request that he/she be tested on make-up day

Use Benchmark Passages for a re-test
If a student has forgotten his/her glasses, please request that he/she be tested on make-up day. Change the standardized administration of a test
Use progress monitoring materials to instruct students so they understand what is expected of them on test day Practice or review Benchmark passages prior to testing
If there is a discrepancy in the student’s performance relative to other information available about the student, or if there is a question about the accuracy of a score, validate the score by retesting the student using alternate forms of the DIBELS measures or additional diagnostic assessments

See an overview of what DIBELS can do for a young learner's literacy

Additional links

If you have any questions, please contact Bekkah Friant at 801-567-8112 or bekkah.friant@jordandistrict.org. You can also contact Becky Gerber at 801-567-8087.