The beginning of an RTI process for evaluation of student achievement begins with universal screening a process where all students are administered the same standardized measure to ascertain their progress level on a certain skill. Curriculum Based Measure (CBM) offers a reliable alternative to traditional achievement tests that can be difficult to administer school-wide frequently.
A CBM is a simple measure that can be used by education professionals to get a quick “pulse” of where a student is performing. It is standardized by using the exact same procedures each time it is administered. Oral reading fluency (ORF) is a common skill used in a CBM format. Oral reading fluency is the rate at which words are read. This measure is highly research validated and a great predictor of academic success. A simple way to consider this measure is consider that is we read too slow we have no cognitive energy left to make meaning of the words we are reading.
For students who are not automatic readers letter naming fluency (LNF), letter sound fluency (LSF), nonsense word fluency (NWF), and phonemic segmentation fluency (PSF). These measures are useful for making decisions about the academic progress of preschool and kindergarten students.
Emerging Areas of Curriculum Based Measures
Curriculum based measures exist for other measures, however the research body that has been used for their validation suggests that their use is not as reliable as oral reading fluency.
Maze is a comprehension measure where students read a passage silently that contains sentences with words missing. In each sentence a space will exist where a student will choose between three possible choices to complete a sentence.
example (correct answers in Bold):
Jack ran to the (park, hat, ran) to meet Joe, his friend. They had lots of fun (house, playing, sheep) basketball.
This measure looks at several aspects of a students writing ability. Students are given a story starter, a few words or a sentence, which they build a story from. They are given one minute to think about what they will write and three minutes to write a story. Their writing is scored based on words written (WR), correct words written (CWR), the number of words that are spelled correctly, and correct word sequences (CWS) a pair of correctly written words. Though norms exist for this measure there is some question from the research community as to the correlation of the progress on such a measure and it’s reciprocity with achievement on traditional writing measures such as high-stakes tests and essay exams.
Though the current paradigm shift is emerging, curriculum based measurement is a vital piece to the response to intervention modal. a modality that shows promise for closing the achievement gap faced by learners with disabilities.