Let’s Go Learn’s Diagnostic Online Reading Assessment (DORA)
was adapted from reading assessment protocols created by the Cal Reads program, developed by Dr. Richard McCallum at UC Berkeley. These protocols are consistent with traditional informal reading inventories (e.g., Qualitative Reading Inventory, Diagnostic Assessment of Reading, Basic Reading Inventory) utilized by many teachers and reading specialists. The instructional level is defined as the child’s highest level of mastery on the sub-test or the level right below that where he/she reached frustration. To obtain this level, DORA
first presents text to students at a level which should be very easy for them to master. If a student masters that text, the next level will be administered. Text of increasing difficulty will continue to be presented until the student fails to achieve mastery. At this point, the student reaches what is called the ”frustration” level. The last text level before the student reached frustration is called the ”instructional” level, and the text level mastered below the instructional level is called the ”independent” level.
The silent reading comprehension score reported on Let’s Go Learn’s DORA is the instructional level. At this level, the text is not too easy, nor is it too hard; instead, it is the level at which optimal learning should occur with the appropriate instructional support. Some liken the instructional level to a student’s Zone of Proximal Development, coined by psychologist Lev Vygotsky (1978). Once the instructional reading comprehension levels (which are based on grade equivalencies) are determined by DORA, they are converted to Guided Reading, Reading Recovery, DRA, and Lexile levels for the convenience of teachers using these instructional programs. While these converted levels will have a minimal margin of error (as leveling systems are often not exactly one-to-one correlations), they still represent a student’s instructional level for those leveling systems as determined by DORA.