The Daily Cafe

Assessing reading levels


Our school would like to adopt a school-wide tool for assessing reading levels. Each time I’ve been to the conference they have mentioned DRA and Burns and Roe. We have one DRA+ kit that our resource teacher uses. We haven’t looked at Burns and Roe.

Does anyone have any suggestions for other assessment tools or comments on either DRA or Burns and Roe?


While I was most recently at the Sisters’ conference in Ft Worth, they did recommend DRA up to the end of 2nd grade, but not after that, as so much writing is involved that the reading kind of gets lost in the shuffle.

The Burns and Roe, as most other Independent Reading Inventories, seem to work better for older students.

At my school, we use a tool by Rigby called the PM Benchmark Kit, which levels readers through 5th grade. It’s fairly quick and accurate, and most teachers feel comfortable giving it. All our classroom teachers have a kit in their rooms. It is not so much of diagnostic tool, though.

For students we feel have true reading difficulties, we do a DRA on them. The rubric with it is gives more in-depth information needed for struggling readers.

So . . . Rigby for all, DRA for strugglers is our “motto”. :wink:


We are a K to 9 school. We have been using Fountas and Pinnell’s Benchmark kits 1 and 2 (they are good for readers to levels A to Z.

We share the achieved levels with the next grade teachers so they have a starting point for the year but recognize there could be some slide during the summer months


Our interventionists have a set of the F & P Kit 1 for our lower students, and the results they gather are very similar to the PM Benchmark. The books in the F & P kit are very appropriate and it does check fluency as well as comprehension. I haven’t seen the kit for older students, but can imagine it is organized just like Kit 1.


The Fountas and Pinnell one is really good.


Currently I am using the F and P, which I love as it is a running record, and also using the Burns and Roe, in particular for older students as it helps me get a leg up on needed comprehension strategies. It is very specific.