Development of an Early Hebrew Oral Reading Fluency Measure

Jul. 03, 2010

Source: Journal of Jewish Education, Volume 76, Issue 3, pages 198 – 214


Currently, there are no Hebrew (L2) reading assessments that have been tested to obtain evidence for reliability and validity on which to base decisions about Hebrew instruction. The authors developed a Hebrew benchmark assessment tool for first grade students modeled after Dynamic Indicators of Basic Early Literacy Skills, a standardized test of accuracy and fluency used to identify at-risk students and to monitor student progress. Results of pilot data collection (N=53) provide evidence for strong alternate form reliability for this measure, as well as evidence for content, face and criterion-related validity. Future directions for research and development are discussed.


Measure Development
Similar to the DORF, the authors developed a Hebrew oral reading fluency measure to be used as a benchmark assessment tool for first-grade students. Passages were created by the authors with the assistance of several contributors with expertise in Hebrew language education. Each passage was re-read by an additional reader, to control for passage length, and difficulty of syntax.

Setting and Participants
Pilot data collection was conducted at three Jewish day schools in a large urban region. Criteria for inclusion of schools were the presence of Hebrew language instruction and a Jewish studies curriculum. Students at each school were randomly selected to be included in pilot data collection. A total of 53 first-grade students (29 girls and 24 boys were enrolled. Students ranged in age from 6.7 to 8.3. The mean age was 7.2, with a standard deviation of .44.



Results of pilot testing in the current study show that the Hebrew oral reading fluency passages in this measure have strong evidence for alternate-form reliability, a critical attribute for a dynamic assessment that is expected to show small increments of growth. Additionally, a comparison of means indicated no significant differences among different raters, providing some evidence for consistency of administration and scoring procedures. The authors provided preliminary evidence for content validity, face validity, and criterion-related validity of the measure. However, they were not able to provide further evidence for validity by comparing student scores on the measure developed to scores on similar standardized measure of Hebrew reading, as no comparable measure exists.


Further development of the oral reading fluency measure will include the writing, piloting, and norming of second- and third-grade oral reading fluency benchmark and monitoring probes. The type of Hebrew in the oral reading passages will also be expanded to include other Hebrew genres utilized within different Jewish day schools, such as Biblical Hebrew and Rabbinic Hebrew. Benchmark clusters of three passages in each genre will be developed so that schools may choose the genre(s) that best match(es) their needs. In addition, measures of phonological awareness and alphabetic principle—other “big ideas in reading” will be written for Kindergarten, as well as for fall and spring of first grade.

Updated: Dec. 21, 2010