DRA (Developmental Reading Assessment) is criterion referenced individual reading assessment, based on benchmarks of grade level texts. It is intended to be administered by the classroom teacher 2-3x’s per year. At the beginning of the school year, the information obtained by the teacher helps guide further instruction. Testing throughout the year serves to evaluate student progress.

DRA consists of three components of reading. These include accuracy, fluency and comprehension. Accuracy is measured by recording #or words correct/ total # of words read. Fluency can be measured in words per minute, and also requires good professional judgement of fluent reading. Comprehension levels are obtained by both questioning and retelling, and begins towards the end of grade one. All are important factors in a student’s reading ability, and each contributes significantly.

The chart below indicates the benchmarks for students K-3.

Frustration Instructional Independent
Accuracy 89% or below 90-94% 95-100%
Comprehension fragmented partial detailed fluent
Fluency minimal word by word satisfactory inconsistent rate reads in phrases

For Grades 4-8, the benchmarks are:

Frustration Instructional Independent
Accuracy Below 95% 95-97% 98-100%
Comprehension fragmented/minimal partial/satisfactory full and detailed
Fluency word by word inconsistent rate fluent/reads in phrases

When students are reading independently, with no assistance decoding words or understanding content etc., text at their Independent reading level is appropriate. For Guided Reading, class work, take home reading etc., text at the Instructional level is suitable.