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1. How are CBM goals set for students with an IEP?

Knox County is utilizing CBM data to better judge the academic progress of our students. In addition to the benchmarking of all students, CBM data is used to assess the academic growth of some students placed on academic interventions prior to a referral to consider special education eligibility. Goals are developed based on normative data from the Knox County population and progress towards that goal is measured. Special education student progress is monitored weekly rather than three times a year so that decisions regarding progress can be made more quickly. The following presents an overview of that goal setting process.

1.  Determine where student is average in comparison to the most recent KCS norms for the appropriate CBM probe and then choose the next higher grade level for monitoring progress over the next year.

2.  Calculate the student's projected Rate of Improvement (ROI) to reach the 25th percentile on goal level by using the Goal Writing spreadsheet available on the Special Education web page.

3.  If the student is being monitored on grade level, calculate the projected ROI to reach the 10th percentile on grade level by using the Goal Writing spreadsheet available on the Special Education web page. 

4.  Compare the projected ROI to the ROI of the student last year (if available).   

5.  Compare the projected ROI to typical growth rates for KCS students.

6.  Select an appropriate ROI based on all available information.

7.  Monitor the goal weekly. Ideally, the black goal line and the red dotted line should be close together to show the student is making progress towards the goal. If the red line is well below the black goal line, this indicates the goal is set too low. The trend of the line needs to be examined, but if four or more of the data points are above the black line, a higher goal may need to be developed. Conversely, if four or more of the data points are below the black line, a lower goal may need to be developed. If a goal needs to be changed on a student's IEP, an IEP meeting will need to be convened. 


Chelsea is a fifth grade student in resource for reading.  It is time for her annual IEP review.  The following information has been obtained:

SLA - Winter Norms
5th Grade: 40 WRC (Below 10th percentile)
4th Grade: 45 WRC (Below 10th percentile)
3rd Grade: 55 WRC (Between 10th & 25th percentiles)
2nd Grade: 70 WRC (Average)

Last year, Chelsea met her AIMSweb goal, which was monitored on the second grade level.  Her goal level ROI was 0.8 and her grade level benchmark ROI is currently 0.7.

Because Chelsea is now average at the 2nd grade level, we will begin monitoring her at third grade level this year.  The information from the spreadsheet indicates that Chelsea would need to achieve an ROI of 1.57 to close the achievement gap on 3rd grade level materials. Based on the information available to Chelsea's teacher, an ROI of 1.00 is selected. Since each case is individualized, it is important to use your best professional judgment when choosing an appropriate ROI for a student. When compared to her ROI of 0.8 last year, this growth rate represents an increase which would continue Chelsea's academic progress. The student's current score on goal level, selected ROI, and number of weeks for the IEP are entered into the spreadsheet and this calculates a target score of 91 WRC for the IEP goal.

The goal would be written, the information entered into AIMSweb, and progress would be closely monitored.

2. Does oral reading fluency measure reading comprehension?

Curriculum-based measurement research by Dr. Stanley Deno began over twenty-five years ago at the University of Minnesota Institute on Learning Disabilities.  Initial research in the area of reading concentrated on the development of a measure to evaluate overall reading performance.  Oral reading fluency was found to be the most valid measure of overall reading skill (Marston, 1989).   Oral reading fluency has also been shown in numerous studies to be a valid measure of reading comprehension (Deno, Mirkin, & Chiang, 1982; Fuchs, Fuchs, & Maxwell, 1988; Jenkins & Jewell, 1993).

In one study, Fuchs, Fuchs, & Maxwell (1988) correlated scores on three direct measures of reading comprehension (Question Answering, Passage Recall, and Cloze) and a reading fluency measure with the Reading Comprehension subtest of the Stanford Achievement Test. Criterion validity coefficients for the three direct measures of reading comprehension were in the .72 to .82 range while the coefficient for oral reading fluency was .91.  Hosp and Fuchs (2005) examined the relationship between oral reading fluency and scores on the Woodcock Reading Mastery Test-Revised in the areas of Word Attack, Word Identification, and Passage Comprehension for students in grades one through four.  The relationship between oral reading fluency and decoding, word reading, passage comprehension, basic skills, and total reading-short was strong at each grade level.
High correlation results such as these have been found on a variety of measures of reading skill.

The rationale for this significant correlation between oral reading fluency and reading comprehension has been described by Fuchs, Fuchs, Hosp, & Jenkins, 2001 as:

…efficient low-level word recognition frees up capacity for higher level integrative comprehension processing of text; this is the key point in framing a theoretical argument that fluent oral reading from text serves as a performance indicator of overall reading competence… (p. 242)

There is one additional factor to consider in regard to oral reading fluency and reading comprehension.  Oral reading fluency growth is greatest in the elementary school years with the fastest growth in the primary grades.  After the intermediate or junior high years the nature of reading may well evolve to a different type of reading, more of a literary analysis.  Studies have found that oral reading fluency and comprehension correlations are stronger in elementary and junior high grades than in older individuals (Jenkins & Jewel, 1993; Sassenrath, 1972).  Thus, oral reading fluency is a valid indicator of overall reading skill including reading comprehension.  The degree to which oral reading fluency measures the older individuals’ ability to “analyze literature or to learn new information from complicated expository text” has yet to be investigated (Fuchs, Fuchs, Hosp, & Jenkins, 2001, p. 241).

Last Updated: 3/26/09
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