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DIBELS 6th Edition
  • K-6

Today’s most progressive and powerful resource for promoting literacy, DIBELS ® are quick and reliable assessments that predict reading success. DIBELS screenings take just minutes to administer and provide immediate results to guide small-group or individualized instruction.

Students from kindergarten through third grade are given Benchmark Assessments three times a year that measure the critical areas of early reading: phonemic awareness, phonics, fluency,comprehension, and vocabulary. Students in fourth through sixth grade are assessed in the areas of fluency and comprehension.

For those with reading difficulties, Progress Monitoring Assessments are given as often as necessary to determine an intervention’s effectiveness.

The Advantages of DIBELS

DIBELS was developed to meet these criteria:

  1. Scores are reliable. DIBELS developers have been careful to define the conditions of standardized administration and careful to document the reliability of the individual measures. Thus, a child's scores are likely to be truly representative of his or her abilities. Retesting is easy if a child's scores seem unrepresentative of what he or she can do.
  2. Administration is economical and efficient. The Benchmarks and progress-monitoring tests are relatively simple to learn, administer, and score, and the materials are less costly than similar instruments.
  3. Computer-based scoring system can track data on individuals and groups. The University of Oregon maintains a website on which data can be entered, records kept, and results analyzed. This costs $1 per child at present (2002). Additional technical reports can be found at
  4. Repeated assessment is possible. The Benchmark tests given three times per year use different items in each subtest, so there is no practice effect from taking the test several times. The progress-monitoring tools have up to 20 different "probes" or tasks that are equivalent in difficulty. A child does not repeat the same task, although testing may be frequent with alternate forms.
  5. Subtest content measures foundational reading skills established by research. Letter knowledge, letter-sound association, phonemic awareness, syllable decoding (non-word decoding efficiency), passage reading fluency, and passage retelling are all measured directly.
  6. DIBELS scores predict success or failure on a high-stakes criterion. Low scores on DIBELS indicate the likelihood of failure on end-of-year achievement tests; high scores indicate the likelihood of success.
  7. Subtest scores are sensitive to small gains. The effects of good instruction (designed according to research-based principles and components) are measurable even after short intervals.
  8. Instructional goals are given for each grade and skill. Because of extensive validation research, levels of performance on foundation reading skills can be recommended and serve as "targets" at each grade level.
  9. Decision making about individuals is supported. DIBELS identifies who needs help, what goals should be attained as a result of the instruction given, and whether the instruction is effective week to week.
  10. Decision making about school systems is supported. Data from groups of at-risk individuals can be used to determine whether the instructional support system and curriculum are leading to improvement, year to year.