Assessment, Politics & Early Literacy. A Vygotskian Analysis of the DIBELS Literacy Assessment. Research Team. Sue Novinger & Amy Barnhill State University of New York at Brockport Nancy Knipping & Carol Gilles University of Missouri Carol Lauritzen & Ruth Davenport
A Vygotskian Analysis of the
DIBELS Literacy Assessment
State University of New York at Brockport
University of Missouri
Eastern Oregon University
One-minute DIBELS Oral Reading Fluency (DORF) & Retelling Fluency (RTF)
for three mid-year third-grade benchmark stories
Oral reading of graded word lists, graded narrative passages, retelling, questions
Cannot identify using only speed & accuracy
“How fast I can do the words”
“How good I can read”; “If you know what the paragraph means”;
“I can answer questions about the story.”
-60% of students thought QRI told more about them as readers, primarily because they were able to finish the stories.
“You didn’t stop me in the middle of the story, and you can see how I read the rest of the story.”
One child suggested not taking the tests:
“Have people read any book they want to the teacher.”
-Students reproduced discursive knowledge as embodied by DIBELS, focusing on reading as speed and accuracy.
-Students also resisted the dominant discourse, noting that they wanted to finish reading or not be required to take reading tests.
Interview with Annette, Title I teacher from the Midwest, who worked with the students who were tested
Annette accepted dominant discourse students and of the reading process.
-Accepted concepts of grade level &risk level
-Accepted fluency as a measure of overall reading proficiency
-Used proficiency-monitoring graphs of students’ rate to motivate them to spend time reading
Annette resisted dominant discourse students and of the reading process.
-Included prosody in her concept of fluency along with rate & accuracy
Worked with students on what good reading sounds like
-Used 1-minute retelling to gauge comprehension and taught comprehension strategies:
-include main points in retelling
-slow down to pick up important ideas
-“share what they’ve read” in book talks
Annette’s messages for students: students and of the reading process.
-Readers improve by spending time reading.
-Reading is making meaning, and the more one reads, the faster one will be able to read.
-DIBELS has mediated Annette’s thinking about readers & reading on some points.
-Annette draws on other discourses about reading and assessment on other points.
-Evidence of a teacher trying to make meaning as she is immersed in multiple discourses.