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Fluency Norms Chart (2017 Update)


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.

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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 entitledOral Reading Fluency: 90 Years of Measurement, archived in The Reading Teacher: Oral reading fluency norms: A valuable assessment tool for reading teachers (opens in a new window).

In 2017, Hasbrouck and Tindal published an Update of Oral Reading Fluency (ORF) Norms (opens in a new window), 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

2017 Hasbrouck & Tindal Oral Reading Fluency Data
Grade%ileFall WCPM*Winter WCPM*Spring WCPM*
190 97116
75 5991
50 2960
25 1634
10 918

* 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 1FWS Grade 2FWS
90 2017 97116 2017111131148
90 2006 81111 2006106125142
  Difference 165 Difference566
75 2017 5991 201784109124
75 2006 4782 200679100117
  Difference 129 Difference597
50 2017 2960 20175084100
50 2006 2353 2006517289
  Difference 67 Difference-11211
25 2017 1634 2017365972
25 2006 1228 2006254261
  Difference 46 Difference111711
10 2017 918 2017233543
10 2006 615 2006111831
  Difference 33 Difference121712


%iles Grade3FWS Grade 4FWS
90 2017134161166 2017153168184
90 2006128145162 2006145166180
  Difference6154 Difference824
75 2017104137139 2017125143160
75 200699120137 2006119139152
  Difference5172 Difference648
50 20178397112 201794120133
50 20067192107 200694112123
  Difference1255 Difference0810
25 2017597991 20177595105
25 2006446278 2006688798
  Difference151713 Difference787
10 2017406263 2017607183
10 2006213648 2006456172
  Difference192615 Difference151011


%iles Grade 5FWS Grade 6FWS
90 2017179183195 2017185195204
90 2006166183194 2006177195204
  Difference1311 Difference800
75 2017153160169 2017159166173
75 2006139156168 2006153167177
  Difference1441 Difference6-1-4
50 2017121133146 2017132145146
50 2006110127139 2006127145150
  Difference1167 Difference55-4
25 201787109119 2017112116122
25 20068599109 200698111122
  Difference21010 Difference1450
10 20176484102 2017899191
10 2006617483 2006688293
  Difference31019 Difference219-2

Average differences in ORF for each grade level

Average differences in OPF across percentile ranges for each grade level
GradeFallWinterSpringAverage *
1 41307

* 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. 

You are welcome to print copies for non-commercial use, or a limited number for educational purposes, as long as credit is given to Reading Rockets and the author(s). For commercial use, please contact the author or publisher listed.

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