Montgomery County Public Schools Sees Impressive Improvements in Early Literacy Assessments

December 1, 2023

Literacy Skills in Early Grades Vital for Future Student Success

More MCPS students in kindergarten through second grade are meeting or exceeding reading benchmarks this fall, according to the latest state assessments. The Dynamic Indicators of Basic Early Literacy Skills (DIBELS) and Lectura assessments play a pivotal role in gauging the foundational reading skills of early elementary students and provide a comprehensive understanding of their ability to decode words, recognize sight words and comprehend text, allowing educators to provide tailored interventions and support. 

DIBELS Assessment Results

The fall 2023 DIBELS assessment results indicate progress in students' foundational reading skills. Across all grade levels, a greater percentage of students scored at or above benchmark compared to fall 2022. Specifically, 49.9% of kindergarten students, 58.0% of Grade 1 students, and 60.4% of Grade 2 students achieved at or above benchmark status. The data showcases improvements in literacy development.

Lectura Assessment Results

Students in the One-Way Immersion (OWI) and Two-Way Immersion (TWI) programs took the Lectura assessment and also demonstrated improvements. In fall 2023, 58.3% of kindergarten, 50.6% of Grade 1, and 51.5% of Grade 2 students scored at or above benchmarks on the Lectura assessment, highlighting positive gains compared to fall 2022.

Closing the Gap: Race/Ethnicity Results

MCPS is committed to eliminating predictability by race/ethnicity in educational outcomes. While gaps persist, progress is evident in DIBELS and Lectura results across racial/ethnic groups. Improvement is happening with students at or above benchmark by racial group in 2022 versus 2023 and is as follows: 75.9% vs. 77.4% Asian, 56.4% vs. 61.5% Black or African American, 28.6% vs. 34.6% Hispanic/Latino, 64.7% vs. 69.9% Two or More Races; and 65.8% vs. 68.6% White. These are significant rises in student achievement and although greater improvement is needed, this data shows movement in a positive direction in literacy development. 

Students Receiving Services: Movement in a Positive Direction 

Analyzing DIBELS and Lectura results, positive improvements emerged. Students receiving Free and Reduced-price Meals (FARMS) services showed a substantial increase of 7.6 percentage points in DIBELS results. MCPS saw similar positive results  for students receiving special education and English Language Development (ELD) services.

"These positive outcomes reflect the dedication of our educators and the effectiveness of targeted interventions,” said MCPS Superintendent Dr. Monifa B. McKnight. “We remain committed to ensuring all students receive the support they need for a solid reading foundation."

MCPS is Taking a Proactive Approach to Lifelong Literacy Skills

MCPS has adopted the science of reading approach to literacy instruction. The Science of Reading considers how individuals learn to read, comprehend written language and develop strong literacy skills. Implementing evidence-based reading instruction can enhance students' literacy outcomes, foster critical thinking, empower individuals and promote a lifelong love for learning.

Early literacy assessments, including DIBELS and Lectura, are essential measures providing insights into student performance in the early grades, allowing for interventions by educators. By identifying struggling readers early, educators can implement evidence-based interventions and track progress. 



About Montgomery County Public Schools

Montgomery County Public Schools is the 15th largest school system nationally and the largest school system in Maryland, with 211 schools serving more than 160,000 students. Focusing on equity and personalized learning, MCPS prepares students for college, career and community success.




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