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Administering and Scoring the One-on-One Measures

Administering Online Measures

Where to Begin

Assessment Frequency

Accessing Test Reports

How Do I Know Which Progress Monitoring Measure to Use?

The easyCBM® assessments are built on a scale of progressive difficulty, with each grade level becoming more challenging, and each measure type within a grade level also 'stair- stepping' up in difficulty. For example, with a 6th grade student, teachers have the following tests to select from: Multiple Choice Reading Comprehension (which provides information about that student's skill in literal, inferential, and evaluative comprehension) and Passage Reading Fluency (which provides information about the student's ability to read narrative text aloud with accuracy).

Teachers begin by administering the on-grade-level measures of Passage Reading Fluency and MC Comprehension to that student. Once the scores are in the system, they should look at the student's graph – if the score falls above the 50th percentile line, then they can say that 'this particular skill area is not the issue.' If his/her score falls between the 10th and 50th percentile, then they say 'this particular skill is an area of weakness' AND select that measure to use for progress monitoring. If his/her score falls below the 10th percentile, then teachers know: (a) there may be reason to suspect an even earlier skill deficit (in this case, maybe the student has never mastered phonics, so the Letter Sounds measure would be the most appropriate to use for monitoring progress WHILE AT THE SAME TIME ENSURING THAT THE STUDENT IS BEING INSTRUCTED IN PHONICS; (b) if the subsequent test of letter sounds (available on the K and Grade 1 tabs on EasyCBM® ) indicates that the student is at or above the 50th percentile in that skill area, then the issue is probably not one of basic phonics, but is, instead, indicative of a need for additional fluency-building work, but at an earlier grade level (to firmly establish sight words). If the student scored well below the 10th percentile on the 6th grade fluency measure, teachers would probably want to drop 2 grades (to 4th grade) – hopefully, teachers would then get a score that would fall between the 10th and 50th percentile lines – this is the range at which the measures on EasyCBM® are most sensitive to growth/most appropriate to use. If the student’s score is right at or just below the 10th percentile on the 6th grade measure, teachers can bump them down to the 5th grade instead.

The goal is twofold: to determine what underlying skill deficit might be leading to the student's 'not proficient' score on the state test and to identify the appropriate measure to use to monitor the student's improving skill as he/she receives targeted intervention/instruction aimed at addressing those skill deficits. In all cases, teachers need to get the student up to the most challenging grade-level tests they can, as quickly as they can, but each student’s trajectory is likely to be slightly different (it will depend on their level of initial skill/underlying skill deficits; the intensity of intervention provided to him/her; his/her ability to benefit from that particular intervention (as well as motivation to improve); attendance (a student must be present to benefit from instruction), etc. For a 6th grader who needs to go all the way back to intensive instruction in phonics (Letter Sounds), it is unlikely teachers will be able to make up all the ground they need in order to get his/her to on-grade-level comprehension by the end of the year, but teachers can certainly make good progress toward that goal, with the intention of continuing to make progress in grade 7, etc.

Letter Sounds/basic phonics is a skill area that teachers should be able to see dramatic improvement in with intensive intervention in a matter of weeks for older students (again, though, this assumes intensive and appropriate instructional intervention to ensure the student gains the skills he/she missed). Ideally, teachers should see an older student (grade 2 and above) move from 10th percentile to 50th on the Letter Sounds measure in a month's time or less.

Building fluency takes longer, but average growth is about 4-6 words per week. However, for students who are far behind their peers AND who are receiving instructional interventions
specifically targeting fluency building (repeated readings, choral readings, reading aloud to younger kids/parents/mentors, etc.), teachers should see the rate of growth exceed 6 per week (otherwise, the student is not 'catching up,' merely maintaining the existing gap). Ideally, teachers select an out-of-grade-level fluency measure but bump the student up to the
next grade level as soon as he/she hits the '50th percentile mark' – if teachers start a 6th grader on the grade 2 PRFs, then after 4 or 6 weeks of intensive fluency building work (designed to reinforce phonics for unfamiliar words and to move additional words into her sight vocabulary through repeated exposure) they should be ready to move to the grade 3 PRFs, a month or 6 weeks later, on to grade 4, and so on.

Once students are reading fluently at grade level (50th percentile mark on grade-level PRF measures), they probably have sufficient fluency skill to be able to start focusing more on
comprehension. Until they are at that threshold, it's likely that too much 'brain power' is being used to decode unfamiliar words and hold them in working memory to be able to attend to the 'bigger picture' of actual comprehension, except at the most literal level. Once students are able to read more fluently, they are able to focus on making meaning from the words in the text and instruction can move to inferential and evaluative, as well as literal, comprehension.

How Often Should We Assess?

How often teachers assess students depends on two key questions: How quickly is it reasonable for teachers to expect to see growth in a particular skill area and how much actual intervention has the student received? Measures such as Letter Names, Phoneme Segmenting, and Letter Sounds can be given more frequently – perhaps as often as every week or two – because students are able to make rapid progress in these skill areas when they are receiving in-depth interventions to help accelerate their learning.

Other measures, such as Word and Passage Reading Fluency, are assessing skill areas that take longer for students to improve. We recommend testing no more often than every other week with these measure types.For Comprehension and the Math measures, we recommend testing no more frequently than every 3 to 4 weeks.

In all cases, of course, it is important that the student is actually receiving focused instruction to address their skill deficits if teachers hope to see an improvement in their performance over time.