CBM measures are simple, easy to learn, brief to administer, highly reliable, and valid. In addition, in contrast to State assessments involving once-per-year testing, CBM provides a multi-level system of progress monitoring within a school year, as illustrated in Figure 1 using the hypothetical Strawbridge Elementary School, that ensures fulfilling of AYP (and universal proficiency goal).
Level I monitoring at the across-year school level. As shown in the top panel of Figure 1, the dotted line, connecting the Strawbridge Elementary School’s initial proficiency level at the end of 2004 (257) and its universal proficiency goal for 2013-2014 (498), is the goal line specifying the AYP target across years. When data points fall below the goal line, the school can consider reforms to the quality of the overall reading instructional program to ensure achieving AYP and universal proficiency goal by the 2013-2014 deadline.
Level II monitoring at the within-year school level. As shown in the second panel of Figure 1, a school can also monitor its within-year progress toward achieving the AYP for that year. At the beginning of the 2005-2006 school year, Strawbridge Elementary School assesses its student population and identifies 50 students who begin the year having already met the year-end proficiency benchmark. As specified in Strawbridge’s AYP, the target number of students meeting proficiency is 281 for the end of the year. A dotted line connecting these points (50 and 281) represents the within-year goal line for the school. This goal line shows, at any point in time, the number of students that need to demonstrate the year-end benchmark if AYP is to be achieved. When data points fall below the goal line, the school can make adjustments to enhance the quality of the instructional program to ensure attaining AYP for the current school year.
Level III monitoring at the within-year teacher level. The third panel in Figure 1 shows the number of students projected to meet the end-of-year CBM benchmarks for one teacher’s third-grade class. In this example of Mrs. Blue class, seven students are identified to have year-end proficiency benchmark (or were projected to achieve this benchmark by June given the student’s current performance and rate of improvement) at the beginning of the school year. By December, this number had increased to 17 students, and the CBM graph reveals that Mrs. Blue is effecting appropriate reading development to meet her end-of-year goal of 22 (of her 25) students achieving the CBM benchmark. If, at any time, the number of students achieving (or on track to achieve) the end-of-year CBM benchmark were to drop below the dotted goal line, then Mrs. Blue would modify her reading instructional program to effect better progress for the students who were manifesting insufficient growth. This brings us to the fourth panel on Figure 1.
Level IV monitoring at the within-year student level. As shown in the final panel of Figure 1, September score of an individual student (61) is connected to the CBM third-grade benchmark (100) to establish a goal line. The teacher uses this goal line to track the student’s progress throughout the year toward achieving the benchmark (and contributing to the school’s AYP quota). If the student’s progress toward achieving the benchmark falls below the goal line, then the teacher adjusts the student’s reading program to generate better reading development.