Document Type



Doctor of Philosophy


School Psychology

First Adviser

Shapiro, Edward S.

Other advisers/committee members

Hojnoski, Robin; Shinn, Mark R.; Calhoon, Mary Beth


Early identification and intervention is essential for promoting achievement in early readers and preventing long-term reading difficulties (Cunningham & Stanovich, 1997; Juel, 1988; Oakhill & Cain, 2012; Spira, Bracken, & Fischel, 2005). Universal screening represents a widely accepted practice for identifying students in need of intervention (Fuchs & Vaughn, 2012). However, existing screening measures demonstrate a number of scientific and practical limitations, such as floor effects, poor predictive accuracy, and limited face validity, and can also be time consuming to administer with multiple measures in kindergarten and first grade (e.g., Catts et al.; 2009; Clemens, Hilt-Panahon, Shapiro, & Yoon, 2012; Goffreda, DiPerna, & Pedersen, 2009; Johnson, Jenkins, Petscher, & Catts, 2009, Goodman, 2006; Pearson, 2006). A newly developed screening measure for early readers, Highly Decodable Passages (HD passages, Shinn, 2009; 2012) was developed in response to these issues.The current study was intended to investigate the psychometric properties, as well as the acceptability of HD passages. A total of 234 first grade students from 4 elementary schools in Eastern Pennsylvania participated in the study. A group of 20 first grade teachers in Pennsylvania and New York participated in an acceptability survey. Students were assessed in the winter and spring of first grade using HD passages and screening procedures adopted by each school (DIBELS Next; Good et al., 2013). In the spring, students were administered a standardized criterion outcome measure (GRADE; Williams, 2001). Teachers completed an electronic acceptability survey online. Results indicate strong reliability, validity, and diagnostic accuracy, as well as an influence of classroom membership on HD passage outcome scores. Results of the acceptability survey failed to indicate a significant difference between teacher opinions of HD passages versus existing measures of nonsense word fluency.