Dibels in Kindergarten: Many questions, many answers.

 The Question:
Dibels: What grades use this assessment? Who administers? How often? How do the results influence your instruction, groupings, support? Do you share the results with your parents? Please feel free to answer any and all questions.

The Answers:

Maria Sykes 

We use it K-3 and some 4. Reading teachers and classroom teachers admin. Classroom teachers progress monitor. It is just another piece in the puzzle — all data together to determine groups and support. DIBELS are on the report card.

Alise Jacques Brown 

At our school they use dibels for 1st thru 6th…then at the end of the year they dibels the kinders. I think they do the other grades 3x a year. Teachers do not administer it. Results are used for grouping the kids for language arts.

Tracy Bankhead 

I use the cold reads with 2nd and 3rd…I administer it 2x per month. I do not share with parents.

Christy Vietmeier Warburton

Kindergarten uses it in our school too, the paraprofessionals administer progress monitoring once a month and benchmark 3x a year…for Kindergarten we do letter naming fluency, phoneme segmentation, and nonsense word fluency. I use the results to help determine who gets interventions/extra practice and maybe reading groups too…and I do share the results to parents if necessary.

Celina Norris Davis 

Our 1st grade teachers swears by it, but we tried it in kindergarten and hated it. It was not reflective of what our students did or did not know…

Clare Harbison 

We use it for all grades K-5. The formal tests are administered 3 times during the year and the results are part of our new teacher evaluation process. Results also help me form my guided reading groups, based on students’ needs. I have the progress monitoring books that I use on several of my students I am worried about. Results are shared with parents at the teachers’ discretion. I actually teach my kids about the test, explain to them that they want to answer as quickly as possible, etc. That way it’s not foreign to them when they go to take the test, since I don’t actually administer it. I want them to be comfortable so that even though they’re testing with a person they don’t know, they feel comfortable enough to do their best.

Katy Rose Mitchell

K-3 at our school. Use it to group for tutoring. Classroom teachers administer it 3X a year minimum–some teachers use progress monitoring. Sharing with parents is optional–I do at conferences.

Michelle Roscoe Spatafora

K-2, fall winter spring, classroom teacher. I only do it because i have to and do not use it to plan.

Tina Sandoval Plath 

We use it for K-5. I do not think it is a true refection of what the student knows. I have several students that score strategic who do not know all their letters and sounds. They just know how to take the test. They cannot apply it to their everyday work.

Teresa Brown 

We use it K-5, with QRI administered to those who we know are way above grade level. Even with students who are at/below grade level, this test is not a true reflection of anything other than fluency at that grade level. You can’t test above/below grade level to see really where the student actually IS. In addition, the fact that the test requires reading and THEN retell, invalidates the whole thing in my opinion–it needs to be either one or the other.

Jenny Knatz Eberle 

We use k- 5. 3 times a year. We have Title reading support so they help the classroom teacher test along with trained paras. I like it. We do share all results with all parents. We use results to determine extra tutoring needed and grouping in classrooms.

Kinder Amber G 

I agree with Michelle. You already know where your kids stand and what they know. I don’t need one more assessment added to my list of duties to tell me that!

Nadine Inglis Berger

We have used it in the past 3x for benchmark scoring..progress moniter all students, frequency depends on level scored. HATE it…it really doesn’t show what your children know…I have had children that knew every letter of the alphabet when they came to kinder (per a non timed test) but can’t spit out the letters quickly enough on a timed test. I teach how to take the test too as my ELL students need to see how before they can be successful..and the pictures with the ISF are awful. Not a fair test for ELL…could you remember the name of an item after being told once and then have to give the beginning sound?

Marilyn Little Huff 

We used to use it but switched to AIMSWeb instead. Dibels in K was not reflective of what the kids knew. It was not a good assessment for the early learners.

Lisa Ogden Banuelos 

Not a fan either. Dibels tests fluency. We have no business testing fluency in k!! Just a waste of time and paper!!!

Karin Smith Kelly 

We use to use it k-5, now we use Florida’s FAIR which isn’t any better. At least with dibels you could see if there was growth with FAIR you can’t!

Teri Jo Shackles

We use it K-5. Our reading teachers administer it and the progress monitoring. Classroom teachers do not test any of it anymore. We use the information along with other assessments to determine reading groups and those who get pulled out for extra help. It is not on our grade card but we do show parents at conference time. I like it because you can see improvement in the students.

PaulandWendy Wilson 

We used them in Kindergarten.

Robin Barrett Hoff

We use it K-5. Our reading aides, principal and literacy coach do the big tests that are done three times a year. We teachers and the reading aides do progress monitoring. We use it a LOT to influence our instruction as the results guide our organization of Instructional Focus Groups for reading RTI time. We do share the results with parents with explanations of what each section is and what skill it is showing. At least our grade does, I don’t know about other grades. We also share progress monitoring results with parents at conferences for those kiddos to give them a better idea of how they are progressing. 🙂

Tonya Richards 

We use PALs testing 3 times a year pre k to 3rd grade instead info is used to group and decide literacy grade on report cards

Laryssa Corbin Lalli 

We use it k-5. My confusion lies in understanding why (and how ) fluency helps with comprehension. Just because a student reads on grade level doesn’t mean they understand what they just read.

Pamela Shine Martin 

Dibels are used in K-5. Done fall winter and spring. The classroom teachers administers the test. In the winter and spring we also do a DRA. It states in the manual that Dibels should not be used for grading, only for planning.

Becky Munger Contenza 

We use it on our k-3 students & I have a student who only knows 5 letters but scored pretty well by guessing !

Mary Hewitt 

We do use in k and other grades. Like any standardized test – kids at kinder age don’t always test well. I have some smart kids who don’t go fast that don’t score as well but ones that struggle more that go faster and “guess” more. I base most of my grouping on quarter testing I do – and what I see in the classroom. I can tell on my phonics tests which kids can do kinder reading skills. I would love to try AIMS web but other k-2 teachers and title teacher have no interest and most like the NWEA testing – which just depresses me as I find those results are not even close to where my kids really are!

Joanna Conway Garland

k-5, teachers administer, given 3 times a year, helps to determine Title 1 placement, we don’t usually share with parents unless they ask.

Jennifer Reinhart 

We use it K-2, it helps to guide some groupings in class, but more to determine who needs intervention. Our specialists (resource, Title I) give it three times a year school wide, and every three weeks to those who are receiving intervention. It’s a tool–not the whole picture–but one piece, that when used in context can be helpful.

Katharine Vera Noble 

This was AMAZING to read! The things I learn. In Colorado, the DIBELS is practically the Bible for reporting anything about reading progress. We use it in qualifying kids for special ed because everyone is administered it so regularly. Wow — sometimes I wish you’d all post your locations (eg, CO) and I could make myself a real or mental map of how it all plays out. 8)

Sheila James Cockerill 

I teach K in OK. Our DIBELS testing is serious business. We test 3 times a year and if you fall into the strategic or intensive category than we progress monitor once a month. Our 1st and 2nd grades progress monitor weekly for those categories. We use these scores to determine interventions, small groups, etc.


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