Curriculum-Based Assessment: Definition & Examples

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  • 0:03 What Is Curriculum…
  • 0:53 The Process of CBM
  • 3:41 Using CBM Data
  • 4:56 Lesson Summary
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Lesson Transcript
Instructor: Derek Hughes
Curriculum-based assessment, also called curriculum-based measurement (CBM), is a powerful tool for testing and measuring student progress. This lesson introduces you to CBM and provides examples of the assessments you can use.

What Is Curriculum-Based Assessment?

Think back to when you were a student in elementary school. You probably remember having tests every few weeks after you completed a unit in math, reading, science, or social studies. These tests would determine how successfully you learned the material from those units, and your score would go home to your parents. Then all of these scores would be averaged, and you'd receive a report card.

These kinds of tests can be useful for capping off a unit, but they fall short in showing changes in student progress. This is where curriculum-based assessment also known as curriculum-based measurement (or CBM) comes into play. CBM is the repeated, direct assessment of targeted skills in basic areas, such as math, reading, writing, and spelling, using materials taken directly from the teaching curriculum.

The Process of CBM

To understand how curriculum-based assessment works, lets consider the case of Mr. Smith, a third grade reading teacher. He has been using CBM in his classroom for several years and has found that it gives him a much clearer picture of student progress than previous methods. He still gives unit tests, projects, and quizzes. These types of assessments still have a place in the classroom and can provide additional information on the progress of each student.

But Mr. Smith uses CBM to more closely monitor his students' short term progress on specific, basic skills. He creates probes, or short activities or sets of questions that target a specific skill, which assesses students' progress. These probes are taken directly from curriculum materials and created by the classroom teacher, instead of from an outside company.

In his reading class, Mr. Smith uses several methods of CBM that are supported by research. For example, to test fluency, Mr. Smith randomly chooses short passages from a reading book in the curriculum. He then sits and has students come up one by one and read 3 passages, each for one minute. While the students are reading, Mr. Smith is marking mistakes the student makes on his own copy of the passages.

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