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Why would a student have low sight words and phonics scores but high phonemic awareness on DORA?
Questions from a customer with names removed:
Reference scores in screenshot below the text.

Question: On the DORA report, under Phonics sub-test, the report labels phonemic awareness as "High." Yet, under "Phonics Principles Mastered," this student got only 2 out of 10 phonics sounds correct. [Thus 0.83 phonics score]

LGL Response: Phonics is actually testing "skills mastered." This student is working on beginning sounds, which are considered low. But Phonemic Awareness is testing the student's ability to hears sounds within words. If the student can understand the question, then this is not necessarily a learned skill. We are testing a current ability.

Question: On the Phonemic Awareness Assessment [this is LGL's stand-alone phonemic awareness assessment], this student scored 81% (High Mastery). Can you explain these discrepancies? Also, what is the difference between the DORA Phonics sub-test and the Phonemic Awareness Assessment?

LGL Response: The Phonemic Awareness sub-test in DORA is very short and has a higher margin of error. It is one measure out of seven within DORA. The stand-alone DORA Phonemic Awareness Assessment is long enough that we consider it a full diagnostic assessment with high accuracy. Both the 77.8% and the 81% scores tell us that this student has the ability to hear sounds and distinguish them within words. This is great news! It is a strength to build upon.

We now know that this student can learn phonics. If this student had low phonemic awareness skills, we might worry that he or she had an auditory processing issue or that English was so foreign to him or her that learning phonics skills might be very hard.

Moving forward, continue teaching this student beginning sounds and then move on to other phonics skills, short vowel, etc. But also be sure to teach this student sight word memorization. Explain that not all words in English are regular; some just need to be memorized. The student needs to realize that both skills will be used to decode: memorization and sounding out words. Two strategies!

Question: This student's school reports significant delays in reading -- both phonetic and sight words.

LGL Response: Yes, our data show this as well. But this student should be able to learn phonics, given his strong phonemic awareness skills, unless there are other developmental issues that we are unaware of at this time. But because this student is only in grade 1 and an EL student, this would explain developmental delays.

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