Announcing an Additional Category
for Above Benchmark Performance

October 2016


The authors of DIBELS Next announce a new Above Benchmark level

The authors of DIBELS Next at Dynamic Measurement Group (DMG) recently released a new Above Benchmark level for DIBELS Next.

The benchmark goals and cut points for risk have not changed. The new Above Benchmark level provides a higher goal for which typical- and high-achieving students and schools can aim.

DIBELS Next benchmark goals are based on research with students across the U.S. The goals were set at a level at which, overall, 80% to 90% of the students who scored at or above the goal went on to meet subsequent goals and reading outcomes. Students who achieve a score at or above the benchmark have the odds in their favor of attaining future goals.

The new benchmark level subdivides the At or Above Benchmark range of scores into two levels, At Benchmark and Above Benchmark. At or Above Benchmark scores represent a range of skill levels—from students who have scores just at the benchmark to those who score well above the benchmark. Within this range, the probability of later success is lower for students with scores just at the benchmark (approximately 60% to 65%) and increases as scores increase above the benchmark. Thus DIBELS Next benchmark goals are the lowest overall level of skill that puts the odds in the students’ favor of achieving subsequent goals and outcomes.

The Above Benchmark goal is set at a level at which students are highly likely to maintain a score above the benchmark (90% to 99%), and are, in fact, likely to maintain their Above Benchmark status (67% to 84%).

The Above Benchmark level may help educators to better utilize their DIBELS Next data for instructional planning. While all students with scores in this range will likely benefit from core support, some students may benefit from instruction on more advanced skills. Research indicates that a large proportion of students who achieve Above Benchmark status go on to reach and, in many cases, surpass future goals, giving the teacher and student greater confidence in reaching future milestones.

The Above Benchmark level can help schools evaluate progress towards achievement of ambitious goals on outcome assessments aligned with the Common Core State Standards. To that end, the Above Benchmark goal can provide a standard for higher achievement in early literacy and reading. DMG intends to study the progress of students with scores in the Above Benchmark range, and evaluate how their performance relates to their achievement on other standardized reading assessments.

Additional information about the Above Benchmark level is available in the DIBELS Next Benchmark Goals and Composite Score document.

Dynamic Measurement Group (DMG) is an educational research company founded by DIBELS Next authors Dr. Ruth A. Kaminski and Dr. Roland H. Good III. DMG's mission is to improve outcomes for children and support school success by developing practical, innovative, and powerful assessment and curricular materials.