DIBELS Next® Benchmark Goals

A Statement from the DIBELS® Authors


It has come to our attention that the University of Oregon/CTL data system recently released their own version of benchmark goals for DIBELS Next®. Please note that the official DIBELS Next benchmark goals have not changed. The CTL-proposed benchmark goals do not come from the authors of DIBELS® and we do not recommend using them. The goals proposed by CTL do not meet the DIBELS Next® technical specifications for official benchmark goals.

  • Ruth A. Kaminski and Roland H. Good III

    For a discussion of the technical and foundational differences between the two different sets of benchmark goals, view this video from DIBELS authors Dr. Roland Good and Dr. Ruth Kaminski.


The CTL goals put the typical benchmark goal at around the 72nd percentile. We are concerned that the CTL goals identify over 70% of students as having less than adequate reading skills.

By contrast, the official DIBELS Next benchmark goals are typically around the 39th percentile, which is consistent with the 2011 National Assessment of Educational Progress, on which 33% of students scored below the level of reading skills judged to be basic. According to the NAEP, "basic denotes partial mastery of prerequisite knowledge and skills that are fundamental for proficient work at a given grade."

There is certainly nothing wrong with aiming higher, and we encourage schools to always strive for improvement. However, the DIBELS benchmark goals are the point where we want all students to reach, which means average-performing and high-performing students will score above or well above the benchmark goal.

The DIBELS benchmark goals are used to identify students who need additional instruction in order to become successful readers. It is not reasonable to suggest that an average- performing school has over 70% of its students reading below grade level. Using the official DIBELS Next benchmark goals, a typical school would identify about 40% of students as needing additional support. Using the CTL-proposed goals, a typical school would identify about 70% of students as needing additional support.

We highly recommend using the official DIBELS Next benchmark goals, which are based on research conducted by the authors. The official DIBELS Next goals can be accessed in the UO/CTL system by selecting "Former Goals" when given the option. The official benchmark goals are calculated according to the way that DIBELS is designed to function, and their interpretation is defined in Chapter 3 of the DIBELS Next Assessment Manual ("Interpreting DIBELS Next Data").

Please note that there are other data services available which continue to provide reports using the official benchmark goals and following the official decision rules made publicly available by the authors. These include:



Please let us know if you have any questions,

Ruth A. Kaminski and Roland H. Good III

September 28, 2012
Dynamic Measurement Group
info@dibels.org