Academic journal article School Psychology Review

The Technical Adequacy of Curriculum-Based and Rating-Based Measures of Written Expression for Elementary School Students

Academic journal article School Psychology Review

The Technical Adequacy of Curriculum-Based and Rating-Based Measures of Written Expression for Elementary School Students

Article excerpt

Abstract. Five hundred thirty-eight elementary school students participated in a study designed to examine the technical characteristics of curriculum-based measures (CBMs) for the assessment of writing. In addition, the study investigated rating-based measures of writing using the Six Trait model, an assessment instrument and writing program in use in many schools throughout the United States (Northwest Regional Educational Laboratory, 2000). Technical characteristics of both models were evaluated. Results indicated that, using the Stanford-9 standard scores for written language subtests as the criterion, most scoring conventions of CBMs for written expression were reliable and valid. Despite adequate interobserver agreement on the Six Trait measures according to scoring conventions, exact agreement was low. The Six Trait measures do not measure distinct components of writing, nor do they share a significant amount of variance with Stanford-9 measures of written expression. CBMs of written expression have shown sufficient technical adequacy across several studies to warrant their use in writing assessment. These results do not support the use of the Six Trait model as a measure of written expression. Implications for research are presented.

**********

Literacy is one of the critical outcomes of formal education (National Institute of Child Health and Human Development, 2000; No Child Left Behind, 2001; Snow, Burns, & Griffin, 1998). Although literacy has two primary components, reading and writing, the reading component has received disproportionate attention in terms of both scholarship and policy (see, for example, National Institute of Child Health and Human Development, 2000, and the Reading First component of No Child Left Behind, 2001). Despite the historically disproportionate emphasis on the reading component of literacy, writing remains an essential component of literacy and is fundamentally important to vocational and adaptive success in modern technological cultures. A student must read and write proficiently to be literate. One of the enduring realities of education is that if something is regarded as important, educators and educational researchers will measure it. Certainly, literacy is an excellent example of this maxim.

There are innumerable measures of reading and writing skills and constructs. Casual consideration might suggest that the availability of a diverse array of writing instruments is good for teachers and students alike. However, that is only the case if the measures have been demonstrated reliable and valid. Indeed, commonly accepted standards for measurement emphasize the importance of using measures with demonstrated reliability and validity (American Psychological Association, American Educational Research Association, & National Council on Measurement in Education, 1985). Unfortunately, the instruments available to educators vary widely in the extent to which they meet these criteria. In addition, the transition from research to practice makes the a priori establishment of the technical adequacy of instruments particularly critical. Teachers are unlikely to have either the time or training necessary to validate or substantively evaluate the validity of alternative measures of writing skills (Hollenbeck, Tindal, & Almond, 1998; O'Sullivan & Chalnick, 1991; Schafer, 1991; Siskind, 1993; Stiggins, 1991).

Educators assess student performance to achieve a variety of ends. It can be argued that in this age of increasing accountability, one of the most critical functions of educational assessment is to monitor student progress and make instructional decisions. This assessment activity is particularly critical, as progress monitoring has been found to contribute to students' educational gains (Fuchs, Fuchs, Hamlett, & Stecker, 1991; Fuchs, Fuchs, Hamlett, Walz, & Germann, 1993; Jones & Krouse, 1988). For assessment tools to be effective measures for regular monitoring of student progress, they must be amenable to reasonably frequent administration, be affordable, and provide sufficiently informative data that instructional decisions can be based on the results. …

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.