Frequently Asked Questions
General Data System
What if I can log into the system, but no information is available?
If you can log into the system but no class information is available, you have most likely been given class-level access but not been matched to your class name in the system. You will need to ask the person who set up your username to use the "Assign Users to Classes" feature on the Administration page to match your username to your class name.
How do I handle returning students who have switched grades or been retained?
Students who switch grades mid-year due to promotion or retention will need a new student record. Mark the existing record as "moved out" on the Manage Classes page and add a new record for the student. You'll now have two records for that student. The records won't be linked, but both will remain in the database, so you won't lose any data.
Can I add a class for a reading group or small group?
Yes, "secondary" classes are used for small groups or intervention groups. Secondary classes can be added using the Import Classes feature with a value of 1 in the classtype column. Secondary classes can also be added manually using the "Add Classes" feature on the Manage Classes page. Choose "Secondary" from the drop down menu listed under Class Type for each secondary class you want to add.
After adding the secondary classes, return to the Manage Classes page and select the class. Click “edit user” in the Class Details section to assign a user to the class. Then click Add Students (below the class details) and use the "Assign Students to Classes" feature to place students in the class.
How do I add students to classes?
Go to the Manage Classes page and select the desired class. Click Add Students. Make the appropriate choice. If the student was previously in your district use Add Returning Students. When adding new students you can select the number of students to add by using the menu above the instructions.
How do I change student information and class location?
"Change Student Information" for a Single Student. Change Student Information is available on the Student History page. Locate the student by using the "Find Student" feature on the Administration page, then scroll right and click "Change Information.” Make your changes, and then click on the "Change Info" button. A school or district coordinator can also change the student's current class if the student is currently assigned to a class and has not been marked as "Moved Out".
"Change Student Information" for Multiple Students in a Class. To change information for a single student or for multiple students in a class, click Manage Classes on the Administration Page. Select the desired class and click on the pencil icon to the right of the student name. Make the updates. Click Change info and then use the back button on your browser to return to the list of students. A school or district coordinator can also change the student's current class if the student is currently assigned to a class and has not been marked as "Moved Out".
The Edit Demographics function, on the Manage Classes page, is only available if your district coordinator has enabled demographics. It will allow you to edit demographics information, dates of birth, and student ID numbers for an entire class at once. It will not allow you to change student names or the class to which the students are assigned.
How do I change the grade level of a class or student?
Classes are specific to a grade level and cannot be changed after students have been assigned to it. If you accidentally add a class to the wrong grade level but have not added any students to the class, you can update the grade using the Import Classes feature. Alternatively, you can manually change the grade or class type (with Manage Classes) before students have been added to the class. Note that if a teacher changes grades, you should add a new class for the teacher at the new grade level and leave the old class name in the system.
Students are added to a specific class at a specific grade level which cannot be changed, except when migrating at the start of a new year. If you accidentally add a student to the wrong grade level, you should delete the student record and then re-add them to the appropriate grade level.
How do I delete a class?
District and School coordinators can remove unused classes with the Manage Classes feature located on the Administration page. On the Manage Classes page, click Show Options to display classes that can be deleted.
Note that you cannot delete a classes that have been used previously because student records are still linked to that class name; however, many inactive classes can be hidden with the Show Classes preference. District and School preferences are accessed from the Administration Page by clicking Set District Preference or Set School Preference.
Can I hide classes?
Yes, you can limit the number of classes displayed by setting the District or School Preference called Show Classes. To set Preferences go to the Administration Page and click Set District or School Preference.
How do I delete a student record?
You can delete a student record using the "Delete Student Record" feature from the Administration page.
If you accidentally added duplicate copies of student records and those records have matching ID numbers, a district level user can use the "Merge Duplicate Student Records" feature from the Administrative page to merge the duplicates. Records with valid data should always be merged rather than deleted.
How do I combine duplicate student records?
A district level user can use the "Merge Duplicate Student Records" feature on the Administration page to combine multiple records for students. Note that both records must have the same student ID number to use the merge feature.
What if the year I need is not available on the Data Entry page?
If the current year is not available from the year pull-down menu on your data entry pages, then your Assessment Schedule has not been set up yet. Your district coordinator will need to set up your Assessment Schedule by selecting the "Assessment Schedule" link from the Administration page.
If you want to enter data for a previous year that is not on your year pull-down menu, the district coordinator will need to send a request to firstname.lastname@example.org with the year and the dates that students were tested.
What if no classes are active on the Data Entry page?
Class names will not appear on the data entry pages until students have been added to the class.
How do I enter progress monitoring scores?
Go to the Administration page and click Manage Classes. Then click the desired class. Use the "Select Action" menu above the list of students to select Enable Progress Monitoring. Click the box for each student who will be progress monitored. When finished, click Save.
To enter DIBELS progress monitoring scores, click on the Data Entry menu then click on the Progress Monitoring link.
How do I enter out-of-grade scores?
To enter out-of-grade DIBELS progress monitoring scores click the Data Entry tab and choosing Progress Monitoring Data Entry. Use the menus to choose the school, grade and class. The use the Type of Monitoring menu to select "Out-of-grade Monitoring.”
How do I move a student to a different school for the new year?
District-level users can migrate students across schools using the "Migrate across schools" option on the "Migrate Students" feature.
If your district is using the "Import Student" feature, simply list the new school the student will be attending and the system will move the record to the new building.
What if a student doesn't show up on the Migration menu?
If your students are not showing up on the "migrate students in" menu, you can use the "Find Student" feature on the Administration page to see the location of a student.
If a student was migrated to the wrong class, a district level or school level user can change the class name using the "Change Student Information" page after clicking the More Information button next to the student's name from the Find Student link. If the student location is listed as "moved out," then you will need to use the "Add Returning Student" feature from the Administration page to move them into a class.
What if I migrated students but they don't show up on the Data Entry page?
If you migrated students but they are not showing up on the Data Entry pages, you can use the "Find Student" feature on the Administration page to see the location of a student.
If a student was migrated to the wrong class, a district level or school level can change to the correct class name using the "Change Student Information" page after clicking the More Information button next to the student's name from the Find Student page. If the student location is listed as "moved out," you will need to use the "Add Returning Student" feature from the Administration page to move the student into a class.
What should I do if I get an error message during the import?
The import feature will let you know if there is a problem with the file you are trying to upload. The most common problems are solved by:
- Checking that the file is saved in tab-delimited text format. You cannot import an Excel file.
- Checking that you have the headers listed in the first row of the file. They must be formatted exactly as specified on the import page.
- Checking that the school and class names in your import file match the name exactly as it is entered in your account. You can use the "Assign Users to Classes" feature to see how your school name and class names are entered. Be sure that there are no extra spaces before or after the names in your file.
- If you are importing demographics information, check that the values match those specified on the "valid answers" link on the import page.
Where can I get the DIBELS materials and scoring guide?
DIBELS 8th Edition benchmark and progress monitoring materials, as well as the Administration and Scoring Guide, are available for download on our Testing Materials page.
Can DIBELS scores be used on report cards?
DIBELS scores should never be used to grade a student. The measures should only be used for instructional decision-making (i.e., to identify students who need additional instructional support and monitoring response to intervention). DIBELS scores should only be given to parents in conjunction with an appropriate explanation.
What citation should I use for DIBELS?
University of Oregon (2021). 8th Edition of Dynamic Indicators of Basic Early Literacy Skills (DIBELS ®). Eugene, OR: University of Oregon. Available: https://dibels.uoregon.edu/
Can DIBELS be used with non-native English speakers?
Yes, DIBELS is designed to be administered to all students who are learning to read English.
We don't have any specific guidelines for administering DIBELS to students learning to speak and read English. While the measures are standardized and should be given to all students in the same manner, there are a few accommodations that can be made when necessary and are specified in the chapter on Approved Accommodations in the Administration and Scoring Guide available from our Download Materials page.
Is there a Spanish version of DIBELS?
Yes, Indicadores Dinámicos del Éxito en la Lectura, or IDEL, is a standardized assessment for early literacy skills for students learning to read Spanish. Review our IDEL Resources for more information.
Can DIBELS be used with students in special education?
Yes, DIBELS can be used with special education students. DIBELS is designed to be administered to all students who are learning to read in English and who are physically capable of taking the tests. You would generally only exclude students who are deaf, who stutter, who are completely nonverbal, or who have severe phonological difficulties.
During the benchmark screening of all students, students receiving special education should be administered grade-level materials. When progress monitoring you can use materials at the students' instructional-level if the grade-level materials are too difficult to show response to instruction.
Do I need to keep testing students who score at Benchmark?
Yes. The benchmark goals increase over time, so a student who meets the beginning-of-year goal is not guaranteed to meet the middle- or end-of-year goal. Screening all students at each time period will enable timely identification of students who are not continuing to progress in their literacy development. Additionally, screening the entire school enables the school or district a complete data set to evaluate how all students are responding to instruction.
Why are there no LNF progress monitoring materials?
Letter Naming Fluency should not be progress monitored. It is different from the other measures in that it is not aligned with one of the five major skill areas in beginning reading. It's used for benchmark screening because it is a good indicator of risk, but shouldn't be monitored beyond that.
What do I do if I run out of progress monitoring probes?
If you run out of probes (i.e., finish all 20 probes), you can start over at the beginning of the booklet. Note that you should only repeat a passage when progress monitoring, and only in this specific instance.
Can we use old progress monitoring probes for practice?
No, you should never practice the DIBELS measures with your students, even probes that they won't be tested on for real. You want to keep a clear distinction between "teaching time" and "testing time." You should teach your students reading and pre-reading skills, but you would never practice the DIBELS measures.
How do I get trained to administer DIBELS?
Amplify offers online training courses for the DIBELS assessment.
How do I score a student who finishes before the full minute is up?
If a student completes the assessment in less than one minute, you end the assessment and record the score.
Can a student use a ruler or other tracking device to mark their spot on a probe?
Using a ruler or straightedge for tracking is an approved accommodation for those children who need it. The Administration and Scoring Guide includes a list of all approved accommodations. Accommodations should only be used with children who require them.
PSF - Can you repeat a word on PSF if a student asks you to?
All efforts should be made to minimize the possibility of a child asking for a word to be repeated (e.g., relatively quiet assessment space, sit close to the child, speak clearly); however, there are times when it does occur and, if so, repeat the word. If it happens occasionally, it is "small stuff." If it happens frequently for a particular child, you might want to check into hearing issues. If it happens frequently for many children, look at the assessment conditions and make necessary adjustments.
The Kindergarten and 1st grade benchmark booklets include PSF scoring sheets. There are no student materials for PSF since it's an auditory measure.
NWF - How do I score a student who responds with individual sounds and a blend?
You score the last thing that the student responded with based on the directions in the Administration and Scoring Guide, available from our Download Materials page. For DIBELS Next, credit is given for WWR when the blend is the first and only response. For DIBELS 8th Edition and DIBELS 6th Edition credit can be given for WRC when the blend is correct and it occurs after the student says the individual letter sounds.
NWF - Should I teach nonsense words to students?
No, you should teach your students letter-sound correspondences and blending. Once students begin developing these skills, their performance will generalize to the NWF score.
ORF - If a student repeatedly reads a word incorrectly, is it marked wrong every time?
Yes, when scoring ORF you are counting the words read correctly. If a student does not read a word correctly, they do not get credit for it.
ORF - What do I do if a student skips an entire line when reading?
If a student skips an entire line during ORF, draw a line through the row and count the words as incorrect when scoring.
ORF - How do I score proper nouns?
You can accept an answer as correct if the student provides (a) a reasonable phonetic pronunciation of the name, or (b) the correct pronunciation of the name if the correct pronunciation of the name is non-regular and the tester knows the correct pronunciation. The developers worked hard to ensure that included names are reasonably accessible. During standardized administration the tester provides the correct pronunciation if the student struggles for 3 seconds.
ORF - Do I need to give all three ORF passages?
DIBELS 8th Edition only uses one ORF passage per benchmark period.
DIBELS 6th Edition and DIBELS Next benchmark require three passages and recording the median/middle score. If you are only able to give one passage because of special circumstances, then give the second passage. If you are using Retell Fluency, you must give all three passages as the reliability on RTF is too low when using only one passage.
For all editions, progress monitoring with one ORF passage is adequate.
Why does DIBELS 8th Edition have only 1 ORF passage for benchmark screening?
Administering one ORF passage saves considerable testing time, and research shows it provides nearly the same screening accuracy as administering three passages.
ORF - Should the tester or student read the title of the passage?
No. The directions indicate that you direct the students to the first word of the passage. If they do accidentally read the title and hesitate for 3 seconds on a word, then you should supply the correct word. Do not start the timer until they read the first word of the passage.
Do you have a tablet version of the DIBELS assessments?
If you are interested in a digital version of DIBELS, Amplify offers DIBELS 8th Edition through mCLASS. Learn more about mCLASS with DIBELS 8th Edition.