About Curriculum-Based Measurement for Reading and Math
Over the past decade, with external support from the U.S. Department of Education, Office of Special Education Programs, Lynn Fuchs, PhD, and Douglas Fuchs, PhD, have been developing two methods for enhancing general educators' capacity to adapt instruction to meet the needs of elementary-school students with diverse learning needs: Curriculum-Based Measurement (CBM) and Peer-Assisted Learning (PALS).
More than a Standardized Test
Typically, assessment consists of infrequent, standardized achievement tests. The goal with CBM is to provide ongoing information, to teachers and students, about each student's progress in reading and math.
In classrooms or schools using CBM, students take a different mini-test each week. The tests are designed to evaluate each student's progress toward the year-end goals of the state's curriculum in reading and math. Once a student completes a test, students receive immediate feedback, showing a graph that the student can read to monitor his or her performance over time. The goal is to make progress throughout the school year. Research findings indicate that students who receive this frequent, specific feedback about how they are learning, rather than how they compare to the rest of the class, are more purposeful and goal-setting, and they set more ambitious goals than they might otherwise.
Teachers receive CBM reports that describe the progress of the class, highlight individual students' needs, and offer recommendations for practical teaching activities that address critical problems. One recommendation focuses on how to organize the class for Peer-Assisted Learning.
Studies Show Greater Progress for Students Using CBM
CBM has been developed in collaboration with teachers and schools in Tennessee and other states to develop and refine CBM and Peer-Assisted Learning. Repeated studies have shown that in classrooms using CBM, students make greater progress than their counterparts in similar classrooms where CBM is not used. This is true for all students--including students with learning disabilities, low-performing students without disabilities, average-achieving students, and high-achieving students. In addition, computer programs can be used to support CBM to reduce teacher time and to enhance the kinds of assessment feedback teachers receive.
To learn more about the benefits of Curriculum-Based Measurement, refer to this study:
Fuchs, L. S., Fuchs, D., Hamlett, C. L., Phillips, N., & Bentz, J. (1994). Classwide curriculum-based measurement: Helping general educators meet the challenge of student diversity. Exceptional Children, 60, 518-537.