I thought this test was a joke when I first heard about it — but it is far from funny. Dr. Goodman has approved this article for sharing — seen here in part. Since the article’s first publication, the investigation of the committee that sanctioned this test has concluded that those who were to profit directly from this test’s sale to thousands of schools were in fact the very same people who approved its use.
Read an article from the Washington Post entitled “Billions for an Inside Game on Reading”
Read entire article by Ken Goodman http://sdkrashen.com/pipermail/krashen_sdkrashen.com/2006-January/000382.html
Exerpt from an article by Ken Goodman on DIBELS —
“There are many things wrong with DIBELS.
It turns reading into a set of abstract decontextualized tasks that can be measured in one minute. It makes little children race with a stop watch.
It values speed over thoughtful responses.
It takes over the curriculum leaving no time for science, social studies, writing, not to mention art music and play.
It ignores and even penalizes children for the knowledge and reading ability they may have already achieved.
Reading is ultimately the ability to make sense of print and no part of DIBELS tests that in any way. In DIBELS the whole is clearly the sum of the parts and comprehension will somehow emerge from the fragments being tested.
On top of that the sub-tests are poorly executed- the authors do badly what they say they are doing. Furthermore the testers must judge accuracy, mark a score sheet and watch a stop watch all at the same time. And, to be fair, testers must listen carefully to children who at this age often lack front teeth, have soft voices, and
speak a range of dialects as well languages other than English.
Consistency in scoring is highly unlikely among so many testers and each tester is likely to be inconsistent.
And lets add that DIBELS encourages cheating. There is a thin line between practicing the “skills” that are tested and being drilled on the actual test items, all of which are on-line to be downloaded.. With so much at stake why wouldn’t there be cheating?
In summary DIBELS, The Perfect Literacy Test, is a mixed bag of silly little tests. If it weren’t causing so much grief to children and teachers it would be laughable. It’s hard to believe that it could have passed the review of professional committees state laws require for adoption of texts and tests . And in fact it has not passed such reviews. There is strong evidence of coercion from those with the power to approve funding of state NCLB proposals and blatant conflicts of interest for those who profit from the test and also have the power to force its use. A ongressional investigation is now underway into these conflicts of interest.
In training sessions for DIBELS, teachers are not permitted to raise questions and are made to feel that there is a scientific base to the test they lack the ompetence to understand. It is, after all, The Perfect Literacy Test.”
Ken Goodman, Professor Emeritus
Language, Reading and Culture,