Beyond DIBELS: Adding Comprehension Questions to a Fluency Based Reading Test

Cathy Gembara, '10, Leah A. Nillas

Research output: Faculty Advisor of Undergraduate Research


DIBELS test is a widely used reading assessment in the elementary grades to determine students' reading ability; however, it does not include a reading comprehension component. According to Baumann, Hooten, and White (1999), students have a greater understanding of what they read when reading comprehension components are added to reading instruction. My goal for this research was to supplement DIBELS test, which solely measures fluency, by adding comprehension questions to assess students' reading ability. DIBELS test is used to determine the level of additional reading support each student needs. However, the test results do not give information on the type of support needed by students based on their DIBELS score. I added reading comprehension questions to the supplemental instructional tool, Six Minute Solutions, which has an identical setup to the DIBELS test. I analyzed the different types of comprehension questions used to determine the reading strengths and weaknesses of my fourth grade students. I found that comprehension questions provided a better insight about the reading skills of students who needed additional instruction. DIBELS scores were not sufficient tools in determining reading ability and identifying instructional support in developing students' reading comprehension.
Original languageAmerican English
StatePublished - 2010


  • Education
  • Mathematics

Cite this