Despite general agreement that we should routinely assess the student performance outcomes of instruction, general agreement regarding how this should be done does not exist. Commercially distributed achievement tests are not always congruent with curriculum objectives and teachers tend not to value the information obtained from them. Informal observation of performance is the approach used and preferred by teachers. Unfortunately, the reliability and validity of teachers' informal observation of student academic performance is unknown. An emerging alternative to commercial standardized tests and to informal observations is curriculum-based measurement (CBM) that combines the advantages of both. Through standardizing observation of performance in the curriculum, CBM generates reliable data that is valid with respect to widely used indicators of achievement such as achievement test scores, age, program placement, and teachers' judgments of competence. These data are now being used to make screening, referral, IEP planning, pupil progress, and program outcome decisions. This article provides background on and illustrations of the use of CBM in special education.
English Learners with Special Needs