How often do you Test Students?
The DIBELS assessment is set up to use DIBELS progress monitoring several times throughout the school year, depending on the students' reading ability level. If a student is at low-risk for reading below grade level, then he will be tested three times a year with the DIBELS reading tests. All students start out "low risk." Progress monitoring will show whether or not progress is being made for students reading at any level. Once all students are tested the initial time, some may then be labeled as having some risk or at risk. This means, students may not be reading at grade level or show indications that they struggle with an area of reading such as phonemic awareness.
If students have some risk, meaning that they are reading slightly below grade level or have difficulty in one area of the test, then progress monitoring requires testing this student once a month. To some teachers, this may seem like a lot of testing, but the assessment is quick. Also, one teacher will not have too many students in this category. Most of the class will fall in the low risk category in a regular elementary classroom.
If a student is labeled "at risk," a teacher will give him the DIBELS assessment every two weeks. These results will show teachers exactly what progress students are making and what teachers still need to focus on to move students toward reading on grade level. This progress monitoring is referred to as "intensive." The benefit of testing so often is that an intervention strategy is implemented, and then teachers can see almost immediately if it is making any difference for the student.
The DIBELS site on the University of Oregon website (https://dibels.uoregon.edu/) has progress monitoring tools that teachers can use online. Teachers enter data into the program, and they can create different reports, including graphs. There is information to help teachers interpret data. There is a fee for these tools.