The Developmental Reading Assessment gives teacher information on a student’s strengths and weaknesses as a reader. Many school systems use these standardized tests to make sure students have access to reading material that is appropriate to their comprehension level. Teachers can better work with students to improve their reading skills when they know what how well the students read.

DRA Features

DRA is a standardized reading test that provides a specific reading level for each student, typically administered at the beginning and end of a school year. Each child, between the school grades of kindergarten and eighth grade, has a unique reading level. As a result, teachers cannot teach the same reading level to an entire class; some children will be bored, whereas others may be left behind.

Oral Reading

One portion of the DRA test is oral reading. A teacher gives a student a specific reading passage, based on the child's previous reading level or grade level. The student reads the passage out loud to the teacher. The teacher listens for pronunciation, fluency and reading speed or rate. The teacher may ask questions about the text for gauging comprehension levels.

Reading Comprehension

Another portion of the DRA is reading comprehension. The teacher provides an appropriate reading passage to the student. The student must read the passage to themselves and answer questions pertaining to the text. The student is able to reference the reading passage to answer the questions.


The DRA offers different reading levels for each grade. Younger grades, between kindergarten and third grade, have many smaller levels within the grade level's reading choices. The smaller levels encourage and motivate children to read more for accessing the next reading level. Fourth through eighth grade uses only one level throughout the grade. These older children must work on various reading skills within the grade level to move on to higher grade levels.


The teacher will challenge the child with a slightly higher reading level assignment once a level is determined for an individual student. This reading challenge helps the student move farther in his reading capabilities and promotes learning new vocabulary.