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September 07, 2005 1 min read
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Their initial choices rejected, many states turned to the DIBELS assessment and the “Consumer’s Guide.”

Dynamic Indicators of Basic Early Literacy Skills (DIBELS)

DEVELOPERS: University of Oregon researchers Roland H. Good III and Ruth A. Kaminski, with a grant from the U.S. Department of Education.

WHAT IT IS: One-minute assessments given individually to students to gauge their ability to identify letters, letter sounds, aptitude in the blending of letters, and speed in reading selected passages.

COST: The tests are free to download from the DIBELS Web site, but schools can purchase packaged sets for varying prices, starting at $69. For the 2004-05 school year, more than 7,800 schools—with 1.7 million students—also used the database systems that track pupils’ scores and progress for dibels, at a cost of $1 per student. The DIBELS Web site says that all fees collected for the database go toward “further [University of Oregon] research and education.” Other products, such as a hand-held computer version of the tests, are also available for purchase.

USAGE: DIBELS has become the most widely used assessment for Reading First schools, and has grown in popularity among other schools as well.

“Consumer’s Guide for Evaluating a Core Reading Program Grades K-3: A Critical Elements Analysis”

DEVELOPERS: University of Oregon researchers Edward J. Kame’enui and Deborah C. Simmons.

WHAT IT IS: A checklist of criteria that helps educators evaluate how well a reading program covers the essential elements of effective reading instruction, including phonemic awareness, phonics, fluency, vocabulary, and comprehension.

COST: The 52-page guide, which has a checklist for each grade level, is available free online.

USAGE: Nearly all states have adopted the guide as a required instrument for districts to evaluate whether their choice of reading texts meets requirements of the federal Reading First program. It was included in a tool kit at Reading First leadership academies sponsored by the U.S. Department of Education to explain to state officials the requirements of the legislation and the application process.

SOURCE: University of Oregon

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