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Dynamic Assessment

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Dynamic assessment is a testing approach that focuses on how well a student can learn something new as opposed to what a student currently knows. It combines features of single timepoint or “static” assessment and multiple timepoint assessment to predict reading problems.

Single Timepoint (Static)

  • Measures reading skill at the time of administration
  • May over-identify risk for linguistically or culturally diverse students


  • Brief assessment appropriate for identifying reading risk
  • Provides key information about a student’s response to instruction

Multiple Timepoints

  • Measures development of reading skill via multiple assessments given over time
  • May be used when diagnosing dyslexia

Benefits of a Dynamic Assessment (DA) of Decoding

Accurate Prediction

Peterson et al. found the DA of decoding in kindergarten predicted reading problems in 2nd through 5th grade more accurately than static tests. 

Bias Reduction

DA can be used to screen incoming students as early as kindergarten because it does not measure prior knowledge, but the ability to learn. 

Early Identification

Peterson et al. found that static tests disproportionately overidentified Hispanic students’ reading risk, while DA mitigated this bias


The DA used by Peterson et al. took approximately 3 minutes per student to administer.

Suggested Citation

National Center on Improving Literacy (September, 2023). Dynamic Assessment. Washington, DC: U.S. Department of Education, Office of Elementary and Secondary Education, Office of Special Education Programs, National Center on Improving Literacy. Retrieved from


Petersen, D. B., Gragg, S. L., & Spencer, T. D. (2018). Predicting reading problems 6 years into the future: Dynamic assessment reduces bias and increases classification accuracyLanguage, Speech, and Hearing Services in Schools49(4), 875-888.