Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

An examination of the predictive validity of the Dynamic Indicators of Basic Early Literacy Skills: A meta-analysis
by McConnell, Erica Diane, Ph.D., University of Northern Colorado, 2012, 199; 3550065
Abstract (Summary)

Since the National Reading Panel report and passage of No Child Left Behind, one particular reading instrument, Dynamic Indicators of Basic Early Literacy Skills (DIBELS), has gained nationwide attention. As a result, DIBELS has been used in thousands of schools across the nation as a means of early identification, intervention, and progress monitoring. DIBELS has the potential to identify at-risk learners at early stages so that interventions may be implemented proactively to facilitate reading success for every student. Previous research has not focused on the predictive validity of each DIBELS measure and studies have tended to generalize the results to all students rather than disaggregating the data between groups.

A meta-analysis was conducted to examine the findings from numerous independent quantitative studies in order to analyze the predictive validity of each DIBELS measure in relation to reading comprehension. The secondary purpose was to explore whether each DIBELS measure predicted reading comprehension outcomes equally well for subgroups of students differentiated by gender, grade, socio-economic status, race, ethnicity, and primary language in order to examine the generalizability of outcomes with students from various cultural and linguistic backgrounds.

Although over 1,000 DIBELS studies were initially reviewed, only 52 studies met the inclusion criteria. Using a random-effects model, analysis of each DIBELS measure revealed statistically significant moderate to large correlations compared to standardized reading measures but were also marked by high amounts of variability between studies. It was hypothesized that certain moderator variables would influence the relationship between the DIBELS measure and reading measure but only a few were actually significant, leaving a large amount of variability still unexplained.

A major limitation to this study was the lack of disaggregated data for subgroups of students. Despite the legislative emphasis through NCLB and IDEA on reducing the over-representation of diverse students being identified for special education, available studies did not disaggregate the data to investigate whether DIBELS is able to predict future reading success for subgroups of students. Therefore, future empirical studies should report all demographic data disaggregated by subgroups for further analysis. Implications for school personnel (e.g., usefulness and lack of evidence of harm in using one-minute screeners of early literacy skills beginning in kindergarten to identify and intervene with potential at-risk readers; availability of Spanish version for use with some English language learners) and directions for future research were also discussed further.

Indexing (document details)
Advisor: Hess, Robyn S., Koehler-Hak, Kathrine M.
Commitee: Murdock, Jennifer L., Pulos, Steven
School: University of Northern Colorado
Department: Applied Psychology & Counselor Education
School Location: United States -- Colorado
Source: DAI-A 74/05(E), Dissertation Abstracts International
Subjects: Educational tests & measurements, Quantitative psychology
Keywords: Dynamic Indicators of Basic Early Literacy Skills (DIBELS), Meta-analysis, Predictive validity, Reading
Publication Number: 3550065
ISBN: 978-1-267-86960-9
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