Introducing e-Diagnostic Reading Assessment!

Introducing e-Diagnostic Reading Assessment!

New tools for testing reading component skills from a distance

One of the proven practices for Evidence-Based Reading Instruction (or EBRI, the foundation of STAR) is diagnostic reading assessment (or DRA). This involves assessment of the reading process (alphabetics, fluency, and vocabulary) in addition to the reading product (comprehension). Over the years, I have shared a variety of print DRA tools with many MN ABE reading teachers. Sadly, due to COVID-19 and its impact on schools, teachers, and students, this EBRI practice has understandably fallen by the wayside.

To assist with this challenge, I developed electronic slides or documents for testing word reading, phonics, fluency, and comprehension from a distance. My hope is that these “e-DRA” tools will support more informal testing of struggling adult readers to identify their specific reading needs. However, I fully recognize MN ABE programs are dealing with an unpredictable school year, making many difficult decisions, and shifting plans or priorities along the way.

So, when you are ready and able to conduct any e-DRA, below are descriptions of new testing documents. All are available for downloading, saving, screen sharing, or printing from the ATLAS Reading Resource library at https://atlasabe.org/resources/reading/diagnostic-assessment/ or upon request from me (mfrank06@hamline.edu).


Word Reading Test

The Word Reading Test includes graded word lists for assessing students’ quick and correct word recognition (not perfect pronunciation) and determining Mastery Grade Equivalents (or GE). Generally, Mastery GE 1-3 indicates need for phonics instruction and Mastery GE 4-8 indicates readiness for multisyllable decoding skills. Note: Not all four lists need to be presented.

  1. Slides for presenting 5 (of 10) words at a time
  2. Slides for presenting 1 word at a time
  3. Teacher Copy for scoring students’ word reading

Sylvia Greene’s Informal Word Analysis Inventory

Sylvia Greene’s Informal Word Analysis Inventory includes sequential word lists for assessing students’ phonics knowledge (not GE or Level). It can be presented as an individual reading test or dictated as a group spelling test. The results determine starting points for teaching the many consonant and vowel patterns used in the English language. Note: Not all six lists need to be presented.

  1. Slides for presenting 2-6 words at a time
  2. Slides for presenting 1 word at a time
  3. Teacher Copy for scoring students’ word reading

BADER Fluency

BADER Fluency includes graded passages for assessing and determining students’ Instructional Levels (typically, within a range of two, where they struggled with word accuracy, appropriate rate, and meaningful phrasing). Because ATLAS/Hamline University has limited copyright permission from Pearson Education, only MN ABE reading teachers can request this PDF document from Marn Frank (“the copyright protector” at mfrank06@hamline.edu).

  1. Slides for presenting leveled passages, several paragraphs at a time – request from mfrank06@hamline.edu. Note: Not all paragraphs or eight passages need to be presented.

BADER Comprehension

BADER Comprehension includes graded passages for assessing students’ Mastery Levels (the highest level where they orally answered 75% of text-dependent questions correctly) and determining their Instructional Levels (by adding one). Because ATLAS/Hamline University has limited copyright permission from Pearson Education, only MN ABE reading teachers can request this PDF document from Marn Frank (“the copyright protector” at mfrank06@hamline.edu).

  1. Document for presenting leveled passages one at time, one on one page – request from mfrank06@hamline.edu. Note: Not all eight passages need to be presented.

Comprehension Interview

The Comprehension Interview is an informal tool for asking students about their reading habits, content choices, and use of strategies before, during, or after reading. Although optional, it does inform which strategies need to be taught during limited instructional time.

  1. Teacher Copy for asking and recording students’ responses

NOTE: Specific directions for conducting and scoring both the print-based and electronic tools are available in the STAR Diagnostic Reading Assessment, a resource (in a blue binder) developed in 2017 and distributed from 2017-2019.


If you have any questions, please contact me at mfrank06@hamline.edu. My sincere thanks to Penny Brown and Terrisa Fisher for their STAR/EBRI knowledge, experience, and valuable practitioner voices in this e-DRA project!

Marn Frank, ATLAS Literacy & STAR Coordinator ATLAS