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What Is the Dominie Reading Assessment?

by Tanya Lee, studioD

The Dominie Reading and Writing Assessment Portfolio is one of the hundreds of diagnostic tools available to teachers to help them evaluate students' progress in reading and writing. The test was developed by Dr. Diane DeFord, an education professor at the University of South Carolina. First published in 2001, the tests were revised in 2004. They are widely used in schools across the country and many school districts and states include on their websites the assessment as one of the diagnostic tools they use.

Where to Get the Assessments

The Dominie Reading and Writing Assessment Portfolio is available in two parts: Assessment Portfolio Part 1 for Grades K through 3 and Assessment Portfolio Part 2 for Grades 4 through 8. Pearson, a leading producer of educational materials, technologies and assessments that includes the imprints Scott Foresman, Prentice Hall, Addison-Wesley, Allyn and Bacon, Benjamin Cummings and Longman, publishes the Dominie Portfolios, which may be ordered directly from Pearson.

What the Assessments Include

The assessments are based on National Reading and Writing Standards and Best Practices Research, according to Pearson. They include a range of materials including original fiction and nonfiction, books for different grade levels, rubrics for story writing and reading fluency, tests for phonics, phonemic awareness, writing, and spelling and scoring guidelines. The assessments are administered in English or Spanish. The nonprofit education research, development, and dissemination organization SEDL in its Reading Assessment Database describes some components of the K through 3 assessments, including the kindergarten-level Show Me the Book, in which students must write their own names and show that they know basic print conventions, such as identifying a letter and a word. For oral reading and comprehension assessments, administered at grades K, 1, 2 and 3, students are required to read passages accurately and fluently. Phonemic awareness, tested at grades K and 1, has children identify the sounds they hear in nonsense words; at grades 1, 2 and 3, they match phonemes and letters. Sight words, letter knowledge, and word and sentence writing and spelling are also included.

How the Tests are Administered

Teachers and reading specialists administer the Dominie Reading and Writing Assessments one-on-one or to small groups of students.

Use of the Assessment Results

The assessments help teachers observe and document students' progress in learning to read, to group students of similar ability for instruction and to plan interventions for students who are performing below grade level.

About the Author

Tanya Lee is a professional writer with more than 30 years experience. She has published extensively in the field of education and as a journalist, the latter in such publications as "High Country News" and "News from Indian Country." Lee holds a M.Ed. from the Harvard Graduate School of Education.

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