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Reading Assessment Time

dra reading kit

It is that time of year already!  Time for students to prove just how much they have improved their reading skills.  Besides state testing and any other end of the year testing we can put them through it seems.  

At our school we use the DRA 2 assessment kit.  I have found this to be a very reliable and true assessment for our students.  We give this test in December and in April.  

We use the DRA to find students' independent reading level.  They are tested on oral fluency and on comprehension.  The DRA is also our universal screening for RTI.  If students don't make certain benchmarks, they are automatically placed into the RTI cycle to receive reading interventions.  

Grades K and 1 are very easy to assess with the DRA 2 kit.  Grade 2 takes a bit longer, but still does not take up too much time.  For grade 3, it does take longer because students have more on the written comprehension part.  If students struggle with writing or are not very fast at composing their thoughts, it can take a bit of time to complete.  But I think it is well worth it for the information that you get from it. 

dra folders

These are some of the DRA folders.  Since it is the end of the year, teachers send their folders to me when they finish assessing all of their students.  I keep them and then redistribute them the following year.  The folders hold the tests students pass each year.  There is a place to write in information on the front, inside, and back.  The back of the folder has a graph to show visually where the student is reading independently and where they should be for that time of year for that grade level.  It is a great visual aid to have when showing parents where their child is reading.  

Next week, I will show you what we use for the older grade levels.  We used to use the DRA 2, but have switched to something else that we like better.  

What do you use to assess students or for your universal screening for RTI?  I would love to hear about it!


  1. My school, until September, did not (gasp) assess the students at all, in any way shape or form, for their reading level. Finally we started MAPS testing, plus the ESL dept. is using Fountas and Pinnell so we have their benchmark assessments.


  2. I haven't heard much about the DRA. I'd love to hear what the components are. Our school only uses what the State requires, which is a reading passage. The scores is only based on fluency. Ugh.
    ❀ Tammy
    Forever in First

  3. We gather data from a variety of sources -- MAPs, STAR Reader, QRI. The end of the year is a lot of work, but I know the kiddos are excited to see their growth!

    Mrs. Laffin's Laughings

  4. We don't use the DRA, but it sounds very efficient. I like how you operate, Lori!
    Grade ONEderful
    Ruby Slippers Blog Designs

  5. We use DRA's at the beginning, middle and end of year too. We will be giving ours here in a couple of weeks.

  6. We use DRA2 for K-6 at our school...I will stay tuned to find out what you use in the upper grades!

    Craft of Teaching

  7. Maria, I know others use F & P to assess reading. Do you like it?

  8. Tammy, the DRA is pretty comprehensive. You assess fluency similar to a running record, which you can then analyze. Then you have a comprehesion component. Students must pass both to pass that level.

  9. I agree, Jennifer, the students love seeing growth in their reading too! Thanks for coming by to visit!

  10. Barbara, the DRA is very efficient and gives you a lot of information about what the student is and isn't doing. :)

  11. Corrina, we used to asses with the DRA 3 times a year too. This year we went with twice a year. We are now holding the students in August to what they assessed at in April. Thank you for coming by!

  12. Thank you for coming by to visit, Nichole! I really like the DRA, but it does take a long time to assess in the upper grades.

  13. I use to use DRA (purple kits) with my first graders. I am at a different school now and we do not use either kit. I really liked the DRA program and I was able to really get a great idea of where my students were and how they progressed throughout the year. I would love to have it back!

  14. I use to use DRA (purple kits) with my first graders. I am at a different school now and we do not use either kit. I really liked the DRA program and I was able to really get a great idea of where my students were and how they progressed throughout the year. I would love to have it back!

  15. Elizabeth, I really like the DRA. I am sorry that you no longer have access to it. It provides such great information about each student. Thanks for joining the conversation!

  16. Lori,
    We just started using the DRA2 in my district. How high do you assess students who are Tier 1? Do you stop at the grade level they are enrolled in or do you keep assessing to find their actual reading level? We are debating the best way to do this. I am concerned with how long it takes to assess my first graders. Each teacher does it during class time so we have to find ways to keep the other kiddos occupied. How do your teachers schedule the DRA into their day? (Also, we have 26 plus students so that adds to the time it takes!)
    Thanks for sharing all of your RTI info!!!
    An Open Door

  17. Hey Camille! We assess all our students to the highest independent reading level they are at. We are doing this so we will know what level of books will be the right level for them to be reading during independent reading times. I agree that DRA can take a bit of time. Especially as they reach higher reading levels. To help our classroom teachers, I assess all the Title 1 kids and special ed teachers assess all the kids with an IEP in reading. That cuts the classroom teacher's numbers down by several and that helps time wise for them. If you have any push in teachers, that could be a time that the classroom teacher could pull students out to assess. It is hard getting it all in. One district that I know of hired some subs to be in the class while teachers assessed. But we have never had that luxury! Hope this helps you and good luck!! :)


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