The Decoding-Encoding Screener for Dyslexia (DESD) was developed to identify children who may have reading difficulties. The purpose of this study was to evaluate the validity of the DESD using two standardized tests of reading ability in school-aged children.
Thirty-one children aged 9 to 15 years enrolled in the study. Each child completed the DESD and two standardized reading assessments, the Wide Range Achievement Test-Third Edition (WRAT-3) and the Gray Oral Reading Test-Fourth Edition (GORT-4). Pearson correlations were used to compare the DESD Reading Test with the WRAT-3 and GORT-4, and Spearman correlation coefficients were used to measure the associations between the DESD Spelling Scale and the WRAT-3 and GORT-4.
Pearson correlation coefficients between the DESD Reading Test standard score and WRAT-3 Spelling subtest and GORT-4 were large, with the exception of the WRAT-3 Word Reading subtest, which had a small correlation. Spearman rank correlations between the DESD Spelling score and the GORT-4 and WRAT-3 Spelling subtest were large to very large, but only a moderate correlation was found with the WRAT-3 Word Reading subtest.
The DESD Reading Test and Spelling Scale had significant correlations with the WRAT-3 Spelling subtest and GORT-4. However, the small correlation between the DESD Reading Test and the WRAT-3 Word Reading subtest indicates that some caution should be used when interpreting the results of the DESD Reading Test. Therefore, practitioners may find the DESD Spelling Scale to be a more useful tool in identifying children who may have reading difficulties.