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Masters of Special Education with Academic Instruction Certification

Curriculum-Based Measurement (CBM) - Topic 7

What is it?

Curriculum-based measurement (CBM) is a set of methods used to index academic competence and progress (Fuchs & Fuchs, 2002). CBM is designed to be an efficient, reliable, and valid assessment of academic performance. Each assessment samples a relatively broad range of skills by sampling from each dimension of the annual curriculum. This sampling allows progress to be measured on equivalent forms across the academic year. CBM is widely used in reading, mathematics, and writing (See Hosp, Hosp, & Howell, 2007). Current research is examining the benefits of CBM is content area classes (e.g., social studies and science).  

The two most common reading CBM used in secondary classrooms are Oral Reading Fluency (ORF) and MAZE. For ORF, students are presented with a grade-level passage and are asked to read the passage aloud. The student’s score is the total number of words read correctly in 1 minute. For MAZE, students are presented with a grade-level passage from which every 7th word has been deleted and replaced with three choices (including the deleted item) to complete the sentence. Students are given 2.5 minutes to read the passage silently and circle the correct items to complete the sentences. Student performance can be compared to established beginning, middle, and end-of-year benchmarks and the data can be used to track student responsiveness to intervention.


Why is it important?

CBM is a critical feature of Response-to-Intervention (RTI). CBM is often the key assessment used to evaluate student responsiveness to increasingly intensive levels of intervention. Both special and general educators should be prepared to administer, interpret, and graph CBM data.

Deno, S. L. (2003). Developments in curriculum-based measurement. The Journal of Special

Education, 37(3), 184-192. doi: 10.1177/00224669030370030801

Fuchs, L.S., & Fuchs, D. (2002). Describing competence, enhancing outcomes, evaluating treatment

effects, and identifying treatment nonresponders. Peabody Journal of Education, 77(2), 64-84.

Hosp, M. K., Hosp, J. L., & Howell, K. W. (2007). The ABCs of CBM: A Practical Guide to

Curriculum-Based Measurement. New York: Guilford.

Web Links

IRIS Module: Classroom Assessment (Part 1): An Introduction to Monitoring Academic Achievement

in the Classroom


National Center on Response to Intervention

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