Curriculum-based measurement or CBM is used to measure a student’s performance or knowledge of basic skills or content. This assessment system was developed by Stan Deno at the University of Minnesota. Over ten years, the work in this field led to the development of a measurement system for reading, writing, and spelling. Teachers can use CBM to monitor students’ progress.
According to Jim Wright, a certified school psychologist, CBM refers to:
“A method of monitoring student educational progress through direct assessment of academic skills. CBM can be used to measure basic skills in reading, mathematics, spelling, and written expression. It can also be used to monitor readiness skills.”
This definition of curriculum-based measurement was mentioned in the book, Curriculum-based Measurement: A manual for teachers by Jim Wright.
Curriculum-based measurement is not only effective for students but also helps teachers understand and amend their instructional methods.
How does CBM work?
When using CBM, teachers test students’ content knowledge and basic skills once or twice a week. The time limit for these tests is between one to five minutes and depends on the skills that need to be tested. For example, teachers can provide students with some questions that they need to solve within a fixed timeframe. Likewise, to test reading skills, teachers can ask students to read a paragraph within 30 seconds. As and when these tests are completed, the correct and incorrect answers are recorded, and then teachers can measure the actual performance with the expected performance. Plotting the actual performance against expected performance gives educators, parents, and school administrators the idea of students’ academic progress.
Advantages of CBM
Using curriculum-based measurement can help teachers in the following ways.
- Minimum time requirement
When tracking students’ growth, CBM does not take much effort from the teacher’s side. They can use this assessment method to measure reading and writing fluency. Educators take less than five minutes to conduct group math or individual reading probes.
- Tracks short-term students’ growth
CBM helps teachers analyze the average academic performance in their classrooms. It also provides insight into how many students are facing issues in the learning process. Moreover, teachers can identify students who are struggling to acquire and apply specific skills.
- Consistent approach
CBM is based on the philosophy of acquiring more data. It believes that the more data, the better. For example, if a teacher wants to assess the math fluency of their students, they can run timed tests. Once the test is run for a few days or weeks, teachers can plot the results on individual graphs. It will help teachers visualize student progress and identify learning gaps.
- The clarity in teaching instructions
Curriculum-based measurement provides teachers the opportunity to closely monitor their students’ progress. It also helps them adjust their teaching instructions. They can change the teaching procedures to provide the best to their students. According to Jim Wright, teachers who use CBM to monitor their instructional interventions are more likely to achieve higher rates of student learning.
- Performance improvement
Teachers should encourage their students to perform better and praise them for their achievements. To help students take ownership of their classroom performance, teachers should provide them with periodic reviews. They can show the progress graphs to students to motivate them.
- Guarantee curriculum overlap
Curriculum overlap helps teachers understand if their students are struggling or succeeding in the classroom. It gives them the idea of the learning curve of students and what they can do to help their students in the best way possible. With CBM, teachers can create probes they pull directly from the course curriculum.
- Alternative testing method
CBM is an effective teaching procedure that works best for special and general education. It has emerged as the perfect form of progress evaluation for instructional programs.
- Strengthen parent involvement
Parents' involvement in the learning process comes in many forms. They can get involved in their child’s studies in the following ways:
- Behaviorally involved: This kind of involvement includes parents who volunteer at schools or attend school functions.
- Cognitively involved: These include the parents who encourage their children to read, write, and visit cultural institutions.
- Personally involved: Parents who motivate their children and talk positively about educational institutions.
Curriculum-based measurement is vital for the overall growth of students. As it provides periodic review, the chances of improvement enhance.
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