CBM with Goal Setting: Impacting Students' Understanding of Reading Goals

By Swain, Kristine D. | Journal of Instructional Psychology, September 2005 | Go to article overview

CBM with Goal Setting: Impacting Students' Understanding of Reading Goals


Swain, Kristine D., Journal of Instructional Psychology


This pilot study investigated if goal setting with curriculum-based measurement (CBM) was effective in increasing student awareness of goal knowledge and if students could set realistic daily reading goals. Nineteen 6th and 7th grade students with learning disabilities participated in a goal setting treatment group or a control group. During the intervention period, all students completed computerized CBM assessments. For pre- and posttesting, students completed measures of goal knowledge. During posttesting more students in the goal setting group were able to specifically state goals: however, students in the goal setting condition had difficulty setting realistic daily CBM goals.

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Students with learning disabilities benefit from setting learning and behavior goals, yet they often have difficulty setting realistic goals (Graham & Harris, 1989) and accurately self-evaluating their academic skills (Stone & May, 2002). Curriculum-based measurement (CBM) may be one instrument to help students' understand their academic goals and progress. CBM refers to a systematic, standardized, reliable procedure for documenting a student's progress in reading, mathematics, spelling, or written language (Deno, 1985, Deno, 1989) Deno (2003) reported many uses of CBM such as predicting performance on important criteria, enhancing teacher instructional planning, developing norms, increasing ease of communication, screening to identify students academically at risk, recommending and evaluating inclusion and several other purposes. In the area of increasing the ease of communication, research has shown the effectiveness of CBM with assisting students to understand and accurately state reading goals (Fuchs, Deno, & Mirkin, 1984).

Student goal setting appears to fit very well with CBM as CBM involves setting daily and long-term goals. Students who participate in goal setting may increase their performance (Fuchs, Fuchs, & Deno, 1985; Johnson, Graham, & Harris, 1997). Studies of goal setting and CBM have found that students have increased knowledge of goals (Fuchs, Butterworth, & Fuchs, 1989a) and respond better to self-set goals as opposed to teacher-set goals (Fuchs, Bahr, & Rieth, 1989), and respond with more effort to task-focused goals (Fuchs, Fuchs, Karnes, Hamlett, Katzaroff & Dutka, 1997a).

Although CBM is an alternative assessment that has proven to be effective in monitoring students' ongoing progress in basic skills (Deno, 1985), the effects of student involvement during these assessments needs further investigation. The active involvement of students in the assessment procedure is an area that is often overlooked. Goal setting during CBM is an area that might be beneficial to students for the following reason: For students to have an understanding of their academic progress, they need to understand their reading goals and be able to work with their teachers to determine if they are making progress. Although proximal or daily student goal setting is a possible feature of CBM, CBM usually involves teachers setting end-of-year goals and connecting the student's baseline performance to the end-of-year goal. The goal line or aim line visually provides daily goals for each time the student is assessed. Students may be aware of their proximal goals by looking at their graphs; however, training students on goal setting procedures is often not part of the CBM routine.

Although CBM and student goal setting appear to fit together well, few studies have examined the impact that student goal setting has on CBM performance. Fuchs, et al. (1997a) found that elementary students who were low achieving chose more challenging goals and increased their effort. This study found that only students who were low achieving without learning disabilities showed greater mathematics learning. Students with learning disabilities did not show the same increase in learning.

The purpose of this pilot study was to examine the effectiveness of goal setting with CBM on increasing students' understanding of their reading goals.

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