Oral Fluency Assessment

From Scholastic Red

  • Grades: 3–5



See and Practice an Oral Fluency Assessment


Watch a master teacher perform an oral fluency assessment. Then, try one for yourself.

Fluent readers decode text and recognize sight words automatically. This ability is critical to comprehension because it allows the reader to focus on meaning, rather than on decoding each word. An Oral Fluency Assessment is an accurate and easy way to predict comprehension ability, determine reading fluency, and establish whether students need to be further assessed for decoding.

What Is an OFA? An Oral Fluency Assessment, or OFA, measures the number of words correct per minute (WCPM) that students read. You can compare your students' WCPM score with an overall average of students' WCPM scores at their grade level to see if their fluency levels are above, below, or on grade level. This assessment involves taking one-minute samples of students' oral reading of three brief grade-level passages (200-word minimum). These passages should include fiction and nonfiction.

OFA: When and How: An OFA should be administered one-on-one, three times a year with grade-level passages. The passages need to be chosen for reliability. You'll find an appropriate passage for your grade level in "Your Turn." Print out a copy of each passage for your student and for yourself.

  1. Tell your student to read the passage aloud. Begin timing when they begin reading.
  2. As your student reads, mark words that are read incorrectly on your copy of the passage. For a word to be read correctly, it should be read correctly in context. Self-corrections within three seconds are counted as correct. If the student has not attempted the word within three seconds, say the word for him or her and count the word as incorrect. Mispronunciations, substitutions, and omissions are counted as incorrect.
  3. At the end of one minute, make a vertical line after the last word read.
  4. Repeat with the other two passages.
  5. For each passage, count the number of words read correctly (WCPM).
  6. Take the median, or middle, of the three scores. For example, if your student's scores are 98, 101, and 104, the median score is 101. This will determine whether your student is reading above, below, or on grade level.

  • Part of Collection:
  • Subjects:
    Reading Assessment, Reading Fluency, Teacher Tips and Strategies
  • Skills:
    Decoding Words