Academic journal article School Psychology Review

Effects of Providing Teachers with Information about Their Students' Reading Progress

Academic journal article School Psychology Review

Effects of Providing Teachers with Information about Their Students' Reading Progress

Article excerpt

Assessing students' reading progress at short intervals of time allows teachers to immediately react to individual needs and adapt their instruction. Curriculum-based measurement (CBM) is a way to provide teachers with standardized information on student achievement and learning progress over time (e.g., Fuchs, Deno, & Mirkin, 1984; Fuchs, Fuchs, & Hamlett, 2007). Substantial evidence shows that CBM positively affects student learning when teachers use the CBM data for instruction (see Stecker, Fuchs, & Fuchs, 2005, for a review). However, the specific benefits gained from progress data in contrast to information about status are still unclear. In addition, the effects of CBM have predominantly been studied as part of special education or with few low-performing students. Thus, the aim of this study was to evaluate the extent to which providing teachers with information about students' progress in addition to information about achievement status results in higher achievement growth when applied in general reading education. Moreover, we wanted to examine the effects of additional teacher training when using the information about student progress for instructional decisions.

EFFECTS OF MONITORING STUDENT PROGRESS

In a review of studies on the effectiveness of CBM, Stecker et al. (2005) concluded that the vast majority of studies showed positive effects for CBM. Most of the studies reviewed by Stecker et al (2005) used a design in which teachers elected up to four low-performing students from their class. The learning progress of these students was documented over a period of several weeks, and teachers received immediate feedback concerning whether their instruction yielded a positive impact on students' learning gains. Some of the studies that evaluated the effects of CBM used a three-group design that included a regular CBM condition, a control group, and a group of teachers in a second experimental CBM condition that was supported in using the data to make instructional changes. For example, Fuchs, Fuchs, Hamlett, and Stecker (1990) found that providing teachers with a combination of progress-monitoring data and feedback on skills analysis was superior to a CBM-only condition, and the CBM-only condition did not differ from achievement scores in the control condition. Likewise, providing teachers with specific information about instructional decision making in mathematics in addition to the CBM data was found to increase student learning, but students in the CBM-only group did not outperform students in the control group (Fuchs, Fuchs, Hamlett, & Stecker, 1991). However, in a similar study that monitored reading progress, the main contrast in learning development was found between the two CBM groups and the control condition (Fuchs, Fuchs, Hamlett, & Ferguson, 1992).

It is unclear if closely monitoring progress alone enhances student learning, but combining weekly CBM data with instructional recommendations is more successful than monitoring student progress alone (Fuchs, Fuchs, Hamlett, Phillips, & Bentz, 1994). Moreover, teachers who engaged in self-monitoring procedures in addition to monitoring student progress with CBM changed their teaching in meaningful ways, which resulted in higher student achievement than that of teachers in a CBM condition without self-monitoring (Allinder, Bolling, Oats, & Gagnon, 2000).

In sum, the studies using control-group designs found that CBM can be effective in promoting student achievement when information about student growth is used for timely instructional decisions and that teachers often need additional support in interpreting and using the data. However, the importance of growth information, which is a core assumption of CBM, has been questioned by some studies investigating the relative contributions of initial status and rate of growth in predicting reading comprehension (Kim, Petscher, Schatschneider, & Foorman, 2010; Schatschneider, Wagner, & Crawford, 2008). …

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