The Relationship between DIBELS Scores and Reading Comprehension Grades in First Grade


Author/Creator ORCID





Masters of Education

Citation of Original Publication


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The purpose of this study was to examine the relationship between scores on a commonly used reading screening test (the Dynamic Indicators of Basic Early Literacy Skills, or DIBELS) and reading comprehension grades of first grade students. The concurrent and predictive relationships between DIBELS scores and comprehension grades (based on percentage scores of Treasures First Grade Weekly Assessments) were examined using fall and spring assessment (DIBELS) data and grades. These relationships were of interest because DIBELS scores are used to form small reading groups, which are a source of intense comprehension instruction. Even though DIBELS subtests do not assess comprehension directly, they have an effect on comprehension skills because of the placement of students in these groups. Different groups receive different types of comprehension instruction based in part on DIBELS scores, so understanding the relationship between DIBELS scores and comprehension could help inform instruction and ensure interventions are appropriate. No statistically significant correlations were found between fall and spring DIBELS scores and reading comprehension scores. The only significant correlations found were those between two DIBELS subtest scores (Correct Letter Sounds and Whole Words Read). While this study showed limited correlations between DIBELS and comprehension grades, other studies have suggested DIBELS has satisfactory validity and reliability. Overall, the results supported the conclusion that teachers should use caution and consider data in addition to DIBELS results when making instructional decisions.