Publication Date


Degree Program

Department of Psychology

Degree Type

Education Specialist


Reading is an essential skill that facilitates the development of later academic skills. Research has shown that phonological awareness at a young age is a strong predictor of later reading skills. As such, it is important to identify students who struggle with reading and phonological awareness at a young age. It is equally important that the tools used to identify early reading difficulties are appropriate and accurate for a given school district. The purpose of the current project was to examine the published benchmarks for the Dynamic Indicators of Basic Early Literacy Skills (DIBELS) in the identification of students as at-risk for later reading difficulties. In the project, 104 kindergarten students' DIBELS scores were compared to their California Achievement Test-Fifth Edition reading scores at second grade. Published benchmarks were then adjusted to decrease the number of students who were seen as on-target initially, but struggled with reading at a later age (false negatives). While the published DIBELS benchmarks were adequate as identifying most students as at-risk, the adjusted cut-offs identified fewer false negatives. This information is important for school psychologists and other educators in the process of identifying students who may be at-risk for later reading difficulties within their school district.


Education | Psychology