Curriculum and Instruction

English Language Arts (ELA)


Gina DeLorenzo, Curriculum Coordinator

Sherry Copley, Curriculum Coordinator

Email easyCBM class list changes to:

Progress Monitoring with Oral Reading Fluency:

Words Correct Per Minute (WCPM) – the “canary in the coal mine” for identifying issues with overall reading

  • uses regular classroom texts
  • requires students to read aloud for one minute from an unpracticed passage of text.
  • is an extremely time-efficient and reliable way to track students' fluency —and their overall reading ability

While it may be surprising that a one-minute assessment can be so informative, WCPM has been shown, in both theoretical and empirical research, to serve as an accurate and powerful indicator of overall reading competence — especially through its strong correlation with comprehension. Its validity and reliability have been well established in a body of research extending over the past 25 years (Fuchs et al., 2001; Shinn, 1998).

To calculate the WCPM score, the examiner subtracts the total number of errors from the total number of words read in one minute.


  • Errors are any word that is omitted, mispronounced, or substituted for another word
  • Words transposed in a phrase count as two errors (e.g., reading "laughed and played" instead of "played and laughed").
  • Each time a word is read incorrectly it is counted as an error.
  • Words read correctly that are repeated more than once, errors self-corrected by the student, words inserted by the student that do not appear in the text, and words mispronounced due to dialect or speech impairments are not counted as errors.

Hasbrouck, Jan. "Understanding and Assessing Fluency." Reading Rockets. N.p., n.d. Web. 24 Feb. 2016. <>. Reading Rockets is funded by a major grant from the U.S. Department of Education, Office of Special Education Programs.

For screening, passages are selected from text at the student's grade level.

For diagnosing, passages are selected at the student's instructional level (which may be lower than her grade level). In this context, instructional level text is challenging but manageable, with the reader making errors on no more than one in 10 words (i.e., the reader is successful with 90 percent of the text) (Partnership for Reading, 2001).

For progress monitoring, passages are selected at a student's individually determined goal level. For example, if an 8th-grade student's instructional level is at the 5th-grade level, the teacher may conduct the progress monitoring assessments using passages at the 6th-grade level.

Many educators have found WCPM to be a better tool for monitoring students' progress than traditional standardized measures that typically are time-consuming, expensive, only administered infrequently, and of limited instructional utility (Good, Simmons, and Kame'enui, 2001; Tindal and Marston, 1990).

Hasbrouck, Jan. "Screening, Diagnosing, and Progress Monitoring for Fluency: The Details." Reading Rockets. N.p., n.d. Web. 24 Feb. 2016. <>.

Links to norms: 

For more information on oral reading fluency measures, click on the links below: 

WCPM Handout Link