Date of Award


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy


Educational Leadership, Research and Technology

First Advisor

Dr. Louann Bierlein Palmer

Second Advisor

Dr. Jessaca Spybrook

Third Advisor

Dr. Michelle Johnston


DIEBELS, Michigan, MEAP, assessment, oral reading fluency, outcomes


Schools are under legislative pressure to ensure students make adequate progress each year, and therefore, must identify students in need of intervention at early grade levels. Educators use diagnostic tools to measure student progress, attempting to determine which children may be most at risk for future reading failure. The Dynamic Indicators of Early Literacy Skills (DIBELS) is widely used for early identification of students who have risk factors. This study incorporated a quantitative, correlational, ex post facto design to examine the relationship between students’ third grade scores on the spring DIBELS Oral Reading Fluency (ORF) assessment and their fifth grade Michigan Educational Assessment Program (MEAP) reading results. By examining the relationship between the DIBELS ORF assessment and the MEAP reading assessment, researchers can gain insight into the system many schools currently use to identify at risk students.

The study analyzed data from 2,220 students enrolled in seven rural school districts participating in a Regional Data Initiative grant program. The research questions examined relationships, including the effect of gender and socioeconomic status, between DIBELS ORF scores in the spring of third grade and MEAP reading assessment scores in their third, fourth and fifth years. Data was examined using descriptive statistics, Linear Regression, Chi Square analysis and Hierarchal Liner Modeling.

Findings revealed lower DIBELS ORF at third grade were predictive of lower MEAP reading scores. After controlling for the above mentioned effects, each increase in DIBELS ORF score at third grade was associated with about a .60 increase in normed MEAP scores. This means that students scoring lower on their third grade DIBELS ORF assessment are most at risk for scoring lower on their third grade state assessment. DIBLES ORF was also a significant predicator of the slope of student MEAP reading scores between third and fifth grade. These findings support the use of DIBELS ORF as a screener to help educators predict a student’s future reading proficiency scores, and therefore can help inform decision when selecting the students in need of interventions.

Access Setting

Dissertation-Open Access