Fluency Norms Chart (2017 Update)
View the results of the updated 2017 study on oral reading fluency (ORF) by Jan Hasbrouck and Gerald Tindal, with compiled ORF norms for grades 1-6. You'll also find an analysis of how the 2017 norms differ from the 2006 norms.
In 2006, Jan Hasbrouck and Gerald Tindal completed an extensive study of oral reading fluency. The results of their study were published in a technical report entitled, "Oral Reading Fluency: 90 Years of Measurement," archived in The Reading Teacher: Oral reading fluency norms: A valuable assessment tool for reading teachers.
In 2017, Hasbrouck and Tindal published an Update of Oral Reading Fluency (ORF) Norms, compiled from three widely-used and commercially available ORF assessments (DIBELS, DIBELS Next, and easy CBM), and representing a far larger number of scores than the previous assessments.
The table below shows the mean oral reading fluency of students in grades 1 through 6, as determined by Hasbrouck's and Tindal's 2017 data. You can also see an analysis of how the 2017 norms differ from the 2006 norms.
Oral reading fluency (ORF)
Of the various CBM measures available in reading, ORF is likely the most widely used. ORF involves having students read aloud from an unpracticed passage for one minute. An examiner notes any errors made (words read or pronounced incorrectly, omitted, read out of order, or words pronounced for the student by the examiner after a 3-second pause) and then calculates the total of words read correctly per minute (WCPM).
This WCPM score has 30 years of validation research conducted over three decades, indicating it is a robust indicator of overall reading development throughout the primary grades.
Interpreting ORF scores
ORF is used for two primary purposes: Screening and progress monitoring. When ORF is used to screen students, the driving questions are, first: “How does this student’s performance compare to his/her peers?” and then: “Is this student at-risk of reading failure?”
To answer these questions, the decision-makers rely on ORF norms that identify performance benchmarks at the beginning (fall), middle (winter), and end (spring) of the year. An individual student’s WCPM score can be compared to these benchmarks and determined to be either significantly above benchmark, above benchmark, at the expected benchmark, below benchmark, or significantly below benchmark.
Those students below or significantly below benchmark are at possible risk of reading difficulties. They are good candidates for further diagnostic assessments to help teachers determine their skill strengths or weaknesses, and plan appropriately targeted instruction and intervention (Hasbrouck, 2010. Educators as Physicians: Using RTI Data for Effective Decision-Making. Austin, TX: Gibson Hasbrouck & Associates.
When using ORF for progress monitoring the questions to be answered are: “Is this student making expected progress?” and “Is the instruction or intervention being provided improving this student’s skills?”
When ORF assessments are used to answer these questions, they must be administered frequently (weekly, bimonthly, etc.), the results are placed on a graph for ease of analysis, and a goal determined. The student’s goal can be based on established performance benchmarks or information on expected rates of progress. Over a period of weeks, the student’s graph can show significant or moderate progress, expected progress, or progress that is below or significantly below expected levels.
Based on these outcomes, teachers can decide whether to (a) make small or major changes to the student’s instruction, (b) continue with the current instructional plan, or (c) change the student’s goal (Hosp, Hosp, & Howell, 2007. The ABCs of CBM: A Practical Guide to Curriculum-based Measurement. NY: Guilford Press).
Using the data
You can use the information in this table to draw conclusions and make decisions about the oral reading fluency of your students.
Students scoring 10 or more words below the 50th percentile using the average score of two unpracticed readings from grade-level materials need a fluency-building program.
In addition, teachers can use the table to set the long-term fluency goals for their struggling readers.
2017 Oral reading fluency (ORF) data
|Grade||%ile||Fall WCPM*||Winter WCPM*||Spring WCPM*|
* WCPM = Words Correct Per Minute
The 2017 chart is available as a PDF: 2017 Hasbrouck & Tindal Oral Reading Norms
Comparison of ORF norms for 2006 and 2017
|%iles||Grade 1||F||W||S||Grade 2||F||W||S|
|%iles||Grade 5||F||W||S||Grade 6||F||W||S|
Average differences in ORF for each grade level
* Average across all percentile range values.
Hasbrouck, J. & Tindal, G. (2017). An update to compiled ORF norms (Technical Report No. 1702). Eugene, OR, Behavioral Research and Teaching, University of Oregon.