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DAR-2 – Subtests

What Subtests are on the DAR-2 Test?

DAR-2, the Diagnostic Assessments of Reading, consists of nine subtests or measures that assess specific literacy skills. The specific subtests within DAR-2 may vary depending on the version and grade level being used, but here are the subtests you will encounter on the DAR – 2nd Edition.

1. Print Awareness 

Reading begins with pre-reading skills like alphabet recognition and print awareness. Children learn these concepts as they are read to and explore books before they can read. Understanding front and back covers, using pictures to follow the story, and recognizing the left-to-right, top-to-bottom reading pattern are vital for a strong reading foundation. Proficient readers already have a solid grasp of these print concepts.


2.  Phonological Awareness 

Phonological awareness is the ability to recognize and manipulate sounds in spoken language. It includes:

  • Identifying rhyming words (e.g., “cat” and “hat”).
  • Segmenting words into individual sounds (e.g., “cat” into /k/ – /a/ – /t/).
  • Recognizing initial consonant sounds (e.g., the /d/ in “dog”).
  • Identifying final consonant sounds (e.g., the /p/ in “cap”).
  • Blending sounds to form words (e.g., /k/ – /a/ – /t/ to “cat”).


3. Letters and Sounds 

A reading readiness test evaluates a reader’s ability to differentiate between upper- and lower-case letters. It may include tasks like matching corresponding upper- and lower-case letters. Assessments may also involve identifying letter sounds, with students recognizing the sounds associated with each letter. Additionally, students might be asked to identify the initial sounds of words after hearing them.


4. Word Analysis 

Word analysis is the skill of breaking down and understanding the structure of words. It involves:

  • Recognizing consonant sounds. For example, knowing that the letter “b” makes the /b/ sound.
  • Identifying consonant blends, which are two or more consonant sounds that appear together is a word, such as “bl” in “blue.”
  • Understanding that short vowel sounds are those produced by vowels in their unaltered form, as in “cat” where “a” makes the short /a/ sound.
  • Applying the rule of silent “e.” It involves recognizing that the presence of a silent “e” at the end of a word changes the pronunciation of the preceding vowel, as in “hop” and “hope.”
  • Recognizing vowel digraphs, which are pairs of vowels that create a single sound, such as “ea” in “beach” or “ai” in “rain.”
  • Understanding diphthongs which is when complex vowel sounds where the tongue glides from one vowel sound to another within a single syllable, like the “oi” in “coin.”
  • Noting how vowels change when followed by an “r,” such as the “ar” in “car.”
  • Breaking two-syllable and polysyllabic words into parts. Example: water is broken down to wa-ter.
  • Recognizing and breaking down polysyllabic word. These words have three or more syllables, such as “university” (u-ni-ver-si-ty).


5. Word Recognition 

Word Recognition is assessed by evaluating student’s:

  • Decoding skills – reading words of varying complexity for accuracy.
  • Sight word recognition – identifying common words instantly.
  • Contextual reading – understanding words in passages.
  • Fluency – assessing reading speed while maintaining accuracy.
  • Comprehension checks – evaluating understanding of the text.
  • Error analysis – identifying areas of struggle based on mistakes.


6. Oral Reading Accuracy and Fluency 

Oral reading accuracy and fluency are assessed through:

  • Listening to students read aloud, recording errors for accuracy.
  • Measuring reading rate to evaluate fluency.
  • Assessing prosody (expression and intonation).
  • Including comprehension questions to check understanding.
  • Scoring considers accuracy, rate, prosody, and comprehension for an overall fluency assessment.


7. Silent Reading Comprehension 

Silent reading comprehension is evaluated by providing students with reading passages. After reading silently, they answer comprehension questions, and the quality of their responses is assessed for understanding. This helps determine their level of comprehension. The score is based on:

  • basic word recognition
  • analysis
  • background knowledge
  • language
  • cognitive development.


8. Spelling 

Spelling is assessed through various components depending on the grade level. Evaluation may include the following:

  • Spelling words from easy to difficult.
  • Dictation of sentences or passages.
  • Recognizing and applying spelling patterns and rules.
  • Assessing phonemic awareness by segmenting words into sounds.
  • Analyzing spelling errors and their frequency to gauge proficiency.


9. Word Meaning 

Word meaning is typically assessed through various methods and can include the following:

  • Defining words or providing their meanings.
  • Understanding word meanings in context.
  • Identifying synonyms and antonyms.
  • Using vocabulary words in sentences.
  • Answering comprehension questions related to word meanings.
  • Recognizing word relationships through analogies.

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How is the DAR-2 Scored?

The scoring of DAR-2 assessments is anchored in specific criteria for each subtest. These scores serve the pivotal role of pinpointing students facing potential reading challenges, thus guiding instructive decisions. Schools frequently establish benchmarks to appraise whether students meet grade-level expectations.

Skills on subtests 1-4 are considered Non-Leveled. The student will receive a + for Mastery of the skill and an N for Not Mastered Yet.  For skills on subtests 5-9, the student will receive a grade level equivalent based on their performance during the subtests.

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