The Differences Between CBM and Student Progress Monitoring

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Student progress monitoring and curriculum-based measurement are sometimes used interchangeably, but CBM is actually a specific form of progress monitoring. According to founder Dr. Stanley L. Deno, CBM was originally designed as an assessment tool for special education teachers to remediate learning disabilities. CBM has grown to address a broad range of issues in both special and general education. Definition of Student Progress Monitoring Student progress monitoring is the practice that assesses students' academic performance and evaluates the effectiveness of instruction at frequent intervals on an ongoing basis, according to the National Center for Progress Monitoring. On a larger scale, student progress monitoring is an umbrella term that encompasses all assessment of student progress. Another term often confused with student progress monitoring and CBM is curriculum-based assessment. Any form of assessment based on what is being taught in the classroom is called a curriculum-based assessment. CBM is a specific form of both student progress monitoring and curriculum-based assessment. Definition of Curriculum-Based Measurement CBM is the oldest, most scientifically proven form of student progress monitoring. According to Deno, CBM refers to a specific set of procedures for measuring student growth in basic skills to create a simple, reliable and valid set of measurement procedures that teachers use to frequently and repeatedly measure the growth of their students in the basic skills of reading spelling and written expression. Because teachers can use it to design more effective instruction and monitor for long-term effectiveness, and because it has been scientifically proven, CBM has advantages over any other form of assessment. CBM's Superiority to Curriculum-Based Assessments Most curriculum-based assessments are mastery-based assessments. According to Dr. Lynn Fuchs and Dr. Douglas Fuchs, in mastery-based assessment procedures, teachers test for mastery of a single skill and, after mastery is demonstrated, they move on to the next test in sequence. At different times of the school year, different skills are being assessed. This makes it impossible to quantify or describe rates of progress. While these assessments are curriculum-based, they do not monitor a student's progress. CBM's Superiority to Other Types of Progress Monitoring Teachers design and use other forms of curriculum-based assessments that are progress monitoring, but as Deno points out, these procedures are not standardized, nor based on scientifically proven procedures. According to Dr. Lynn Fuchs and Dr. Pam Stecker, CBM has an advantage over other forms of assessment as it fits with any instructional approach and serves as a test for retention and generalization. It can also be used to identify at-risk students who may need additional services and helps teachers plan effective instruction. CBM also helps in the design of effective instructional programs for student who don't respond to more general instructional practices.


Catherine D

Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, United States •

Catherine Donges teaches adjudicated adolescents in a residential treatment facility in York, Pa. Donges earned both her MA and MFA from Wilkes University and a MSEd from Capella University.

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