Measures to Monitoring Progress in Reading

Two valid and reliable procedures that can be used to monitor a student’s growth in reading are: Oral reading and Maze reading. These tools are generally used with students who have an established language base and are beginning to read text-based materials.

Oral Reading Fluency (ORF)Students are given a passage to read, typically at their instructional level. They have 1 minute to read the passage to the teacher or the teacher’s assistant. The teacher marks the words read incorrectly. The score is the total number of words read correctly in one minute.

  • Oral reading fluency procedures are generally not appropriate for use with students who are deaf or hard of hearing (1).
  • Procedures that use oral or signed reading of a passage with students who are deaf or hard of hearing as an indicator for fluency may not be reliable measures  for the following reasons (1):
    • Difficulty in determining if the word read is correct / incorrect due to articulation skills versus reading skills.
    • Difficulty in determining if reading fluency is influenced by the student’s focus on articulation skills and speech versus reading skills. The student’s reading rate or accuracy may be affected by effort in pronouncing and vocalizing phonemes.


Video: Example of implementing reading fluency measure.

If ORF measures are used, a reliability check should be conducted to confirm objectivity, reliability or agreement in scoring. Inter rater reliability among 3 independent scorers should be established at minimum of 90% prior to using ORF data. The student should be able to use spoken language with 85% intelligibility with unfamiliar individuals.

Video: Stan Deno discusses CBM, MAZE, and ORF.

Maze is a process used to monitor students’ silent reading fluency and comprehension. The Maze is a CBM procedure that may be used with an individual or with groups of students.

Students are given a printed reading passage in which every 7th word has been replaced with three multiple-choice word options. The student is instructed to select the word that completes the sentence correctly.


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  • Students have 1 or 3 minutes (determined by the level of reading competency) to read and restore meaning to the passage by replacing words. The score is the number of correct minus the number of incorrect responses (C-I). We will discuss the process of scoring in greater detail later in the webinar.
  • Students’ scores are recorded on a graph over time. The scores represent the student’s overall reading competence.

Research indicates that the MAZE procedure is a reliable and valid measure of reading competence and is sensitive to growth in reading performance across short periods of time for students who are deaf or hard of hearing (2).