Developmental Reading Assessment

The Developmental Reading Assessment (DRA) is an individually administered assessment of a child’s reading capabilities. It is a tool to be used by teachers to identify a student’s reading level, accuracy, fluency, and comprehension. Once levels are identified, a teacher can use this information for instructional planning purposes.


The DRA test is traditionally administered on an annual or semi-annual basis. The test measures nine categories of reading behaviors and six types of errors. It was developed in 1986 (and revised in both 2000 and 2003) by a committee of educators and is intended to evaluate certain aspects of your child’s reading level. The two main aspects are phonemic awareness and alphabetic principle.

Tasks measured are divided into:

  • Phonemic Awareness
  • Rhyming
  • Alliteration
  • Segmentation
  • Phonemic awareness
  • Alphabetic Principle
  • Letter naming
  • Word-List reading
  • Spelling
  • Decoding
  • Analogies
  • Structural Analysis
  • Syllabication

After the test is evaluated and scored, your child is assigned a numeric DRA level A1 through 80. Children with stronger reading abilities yield higher numbers. Teachers are easily able to give children books they can read by choosing a text with the corresponding DRA level.

Grade Normal DRA Level:

  • Kindergarten A-1 to 4
  • First 6 to 12
  • Second 14 to 28
  • Third 30 to 38
  • Fourth 40
  • Fifth 50
  • Sixth 60
  • Seventh 70
  • Eighth 80