DIBELS continues to generate discussion (and repudiation!). Here are some links to materials and sites to help you sort it out.
- An early examination is Gerald Coles's "Comprehending DIBELS," published in the September 2004 FairTest Examiner. It can be read at http://susanohanian.org/show_research.php?id=150.
- In "Is DIBELS Leading Us Down the Wrong Path?" Rob Tierney and Catherine Thome examine "the questionable link between testing, accountability, and student learning." Click here.
- Ken Goodman debunks "DIBELS: The Perfect Literacy Test" in Language Magazine, December 2005. Click here.
- In a Monitor 2005 special report, Andrew Brownstein and Travis Hicks uncover the unsavory tactics of consultants pushing DIBELS in connection with federal Reading First funds.Click here.
- In a Michigan State University Position Paper, Michael Pressley, Katherine Hilden, and Rebecca Shankland present their research leading to the conclusion that "DIBELS mispredicts reading performance on other assessments much of the time, and at best is a measure of who reads quickly without regard to whether the reader comprehends what is read." Click here.
- B. W. Reidel has an article entitled "The Relation Between DIBELS, Reading Comprehension, and Vocabulary in Urban First-Grade Students, in the October/November/December 2007 issue of Reading Research Quarterly. Click here. (By subscription or pay-per-view only.)
- S. Jay Samuels's response to Reidel's article, "The DIBELS Tests: Is Speed of Barking at Print What We Mean by Reading Fluency?" (also in the October/Novermber/December 2007 RRQ) can be read here.
- Heinemann has published an entire book on the subject: The Truth About DIBELS: What It Is-What It Does, edited by Kenneth S. Goodman (2006). David Pearson's important foreword to this book can be read here. Ken's contribution to the book can be read here. Susan Seay, a professor at the University of Alabama, in her contribution to this book, entitled "How DIBELS Failed Alabama," states: "Unfortunately, Alabama reading scores are stagnant. The expectations that state authorities had that DIBELS would improve reading achievement have not been fulfilled. . . . Findings from this study suggest that testing students on how fast they can read is not leading students in this district to higher test scores, and is clearly not leading to meaningful reading. When speed becomes the goal of reading instruction, rather than meaning and purpose, students lose" (pp 62 and 63).
- A brief evaluation (by principal Marilyn Jerde) of a DIBELS pilot test at Arapahoe Ridge Elementary School, in Westminster CO, can be read here.
Living Informs Teaching