DIBELS data

Discussion in 'Kindergarten' started by JamieLeigh, Jan 8, 2010.

  1. JamieLeigh

    JamieLeigh Rookie

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    Jan 8, 2010

    This is my first year teaching, and I would like some insight on something that is bothering me right now.

    Two of my students came in to kindergarten with no idea how to hold a pencil, scissors, etc. They knew 0-5 letters, very few numbers, could not count to ten- they basically knew nothing and had not been in any kind of school setting before. It was not surprising that they tested Intensive on the first round of DIBELS. At the beginning of the year, I had six students test Intensive.

    We retested again at the end of November. The two students were the only two to test Intensive. However, one of them knows all of his letters, letter sounds, most of his numbers through 25, most of the high frequency words, and is just progressing very well. He is not very fast though. He likes to work at his own pace, and I know what is holding him back on DIBELS is his timing. The other child does not know as much as this one, but is still progressing fantastically (according to me anyway) in all areas considering where he started.

    The problem is that because they both tested Intensive again, the Title 1 teacher, and some of my teammates are pushing me to begin the referral process to Special Ed. They said that because these children have had an extra 30 minutes of pullout reading daily (Sidewalks) that they should be further (Strategic). However, I feel that relying solely on DIBELS to make this reference would be stupid of me. When I can see (and my assessments) show that these children are making such progress, I just feel that it is too early to do this. Even my principal had said at the beginning of the year that she would be hesitant to refer any kindergartener to Special Ed. unless there is an obvious speech or language problem. I just feel that they are not developmentally ready to progress any more quickly than they already are.

    I'd love to hear your opinion on this issue. I feel like if I don't begin the process, I'm going to be seen as lazy because I don't want to do the paperwork. However, these children's parents are going to wonder why I kept telling them that their children have been progressing well and that they are doing an excellent job of working with them at home and then turn around and refer them to Special Ed. I'm just frustrated....:confused:
     
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  3. mrachelle87

    mrachelle87 Fanatic

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    Jan 8, 2010

    We are discouraged to test children less than 7 years old that don't show major developmental delays. There is no way these children would be tested in my school.

    I would start with the parents. I would share with them that the Title 1 teacher has concerns. Then I would share with them that I had concerns, but that I didn't believe that their child would qualify at this time. Then ask them what they want. Chances are that they will trust you and agree with you. Especially if you share the progress that you see. Then you can share with the Title 1 teacher that you and the parents want to wait and see. That if things don't improve by the end of March, you will reevaluate.

    Are you a first year teacher? (I don't care, but sometimes veteran teachers "doubt" a first year teacher that wants to only see the "sunny side" of things.)
     
  4. swansong1

    swansong1 Virtuoso

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    Jan 8, 2010

    I am a special ed teacher who constantly fights to have children referred early so they can receive the proper interventions before too much time goes by. However, it sounds like you have a handle on things and, from your description, it sounds like these children just needed some more time to mature. I absolutely would not refer any child based solely on Dibels results.
     
  5. halpey1

    halpey1 Groupie

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    Jan 9, 2010

    I have to agree with you TOTALLY on the the 'speed' issue. :)

    I think what you can do is assess their letter identification, independently (ie. NOT using DIBELS) and share this data (it sounds like you might have already done this).

    It's really unfortunate we live in a world where SPEED is everything - not a good message to be sending our young learners.
     
  6. K1teach

    K1teach Companion

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    Jan 9, 2010

    Although I appreciate the data that DIBELS provides I think that you are right in that it is just one piece of data. Obviously you have other data proving that your students are progressing in their knowledge and that to me says not to push them for a referral at this point. If you think it would help, DIBELS has a progress monitoring feature that I think is pretty great. You could use it weekly or every other week to test these children and then you could show their progress more frequently than the benchmark assessments. It would also provide the students a chance to practice naming letters faster. My students love when I share the results with them right away. "This week you named __ letters in a minute and last week you only named __ letters in a minute. Wow!! Look how much better you are doing!!"
     
  7. teacherheath

    teacherheath Companion

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    Jan 9, 2010

    Do you guys do RTI? I'm not sure how different states operate. What I would do is bring them to RTI. We would write an intervention plan and just track their data and progress every 9 weeks. If they make progress, wonderful. If not, then what you've tried has been documented and you can decide to change your intervention or refer for further testing.
     
  8. teacherece

    teacherece Cohort

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    Jan 28, 2010

    If you have a child that now knows all their letters/sounds, they are doing well right now. I think November is too soon to test again for DIBELS, unless you are doing progress monitoring (RTI). We tested in Sept. and again in January. Our lowest studnets made progress; however, we see a few who are Tier III and have remained there. We also use Star early Literacy (Renaissance). You should use Marie Clay's assessment and have at least 2 or 3 to inform instruction. Those timed DIBELS tests are rough and also the photos are crazy. Even the kiddos with great background knowledge have a difficult time with the pix.
     
  9. oldentired

    oldentired Rookie

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    Jan 29, 2010

    Dibels

    IMHO a child who knows all letter and letter sounds by November has no business being referred for testing. Sounds like he just needed to be TAUGHT! Yes, a big part of Dibels is speed and there is research to show that speed in K translates to reading fluency later. Having said that, I hate the emphasis on Dibels in my building. My principal thinks it is the definitive statement about a child's progress and we all know otherwise. I think administrators automatically start drooling when they hear the magic words, "data" and research based" these days. Dibels has all that plus the added bonus of being free - it's a dream come true for schools.
     
  10. JamieLeigh

    JamieLeigh Rookie

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    Jan 29, 2010

    Thanks for the input everyone. This child is a very fast learner but takes his sweet time doing anything. He was recently put on a very mild medicine for focus problems. This has helped him tremendously and he doesn't get distracted as easily. Before, when I was Progress Monitoring him or when another teacher was testing him, he would stop in the middle of the test to tell a story or to say "I really don't want to do this anymore!" so hopefully this will improve his scores and relieve the pressure put on me to refer him!
     

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