Academic journal article School Psychology Review

Estimates of the Standard Error of Measurement for Curriculum-Based Measures of Oral Reading Fluency

Academic journal article School Psychology Review

Estimates of the Standard Error of Measurement for Curriculum-Based Measures of Oral Reading Fluency

Article excerpt

Abstract. Curriculum-based measurement of oral reading fluency (CBM-R) procedures have been developed to screen and evaluate student performance in reference to local norms and/or benchmarks. Recent changes in federal law have set the stage to use CBM-R data within a response to intervention model to guide high-stakes educational decisions (e.g., eligibility and diagnosis). The purpose of this study was to derive estimates for the standard error of measurement (SEM) of CBM-R. A sample of 8,200 students was assessed across 8 years for a total of 63,207 CBM-R probes. The median level of SEM across grades was 10 words read correctly per minute (WRCM; range = 5-15). Estimates are provided within a variety of contexts (i.e., reliability, grade level, heterogeneity of sample) with the most likely estimates in the range of 5-9 WRCM. Potential applications are discussed along with implications for future research.


Curriculum-based measurement (CBM) is a set of standardized procedures designed to accurately and efficiently index academic growth in the basic skill areas of reading, mathematics, written expression, and spelling (Deno, 1985; Shinn, 2002). CBM was initially developed in the late 1970s and early 1980s so that special education teachers could repeatedly measure student performance across time and evaluate instructional effects (Bradley & Ames, 1977; Deno, 1985, 1986, 1989; Deno, Marston, & Tindal, 1985). The scope and influence of CBM began to expand in the latter part of the 1980s when methods were proposed to develop local norms for classes, schools, and districts (Shinn, 1988). It was at that time that CBM outcomes were first associated with systematic screening, eligibility, and diagnostic decisions (Shinn, Deno, Fuchs, Germann, & Marston, 2004). The scope and influence of CBM has expanded substantially from its initial applications when it was administered frequently by teachers within special education to guide low-stakes instructional decisions. Thirty years after its inception, CBM is often used as a primary data source to support problem solving and to evaluate response to intervention (RTI).

CBM is often identified as the standardized measurement procedure used to define academic problems and evaluate response to intervention. That is, local CBM norms and/or benchmark standards are established by local educational agencies. Those standards for performance are used as the point of comparison so that academic problems are defined as the discrepancy between typical and atypical performance on CBM tasks (Deno, 2002; Shinn, 2002). Recent additions to the research literature provide criterion standards of expected performance across the primary grades (e.g., Good, Simmons, & Kame'enui, 2001; Hintze & Silberglitt, 2005; McGlinchey & Hixson, 2004; Silberglitt & Hintze, 2005; Stage & Jacobsen, 2001), which can be used to supplement local norms and progress monitoring data. CBM is presented in the literature as a critical component of both problem solving and RTI (Fuchs, Fuchs, McMaster, & Al Otaiba, 2003; Speece & Case, 2001; Speece, Case, & Molloy, 2003). Recent changes in federal law have established a context within which problem solving, RTI, and CBM can be used to guide diagnosis and eligibility decisions. This new emphasis was not foreseen in the early development of CBM (Shinn et al., 2004). If the intent is to use CBM to inform high-stakes diagnostic and eligibility decisions, then it is necessary to examine the psychometric properties of CBM more closely and provide recommended practices for CBM interpretation when they are used to guide high-stakes decisions.


The changes in the Individuals with Disability Improvement Act (IDEIA; 2004) have established that RTI procedures can be used as part of early intervention and prevention programs. The law also established that RTI procedures can be used to diagnose individuals with specific learning disabilities. …

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


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.