Academic journal article School Psychology Review

The Reliability and Validity of Curriculum-Based Measurement Readiness Probes for Kindergarten Students

Academic journal article School Psychology Review

The Reliability and Validity of Curriculum-Based Measurement Readiness Probes for Kindergarten Students

Article excerpt

Abstract. A series of group-administered curriculum-based measurement (CBM) probes were developed to assist in the identification of kindergarten students exhibiting deficient readiness skills. The technical adequacy of the readiness probes was assessed in two suburban, public kindergarten centers. Reliability was assessed in three ways with 107 kindergarten students. Alternate forms reliability was assessed via administration of parallel forms of probes. Source reliability was assessed via independent scorer agreement. Item reliability was assessed via Cronbach's alpha. A random sample of 31 students participated in the validity phase of the study. Concurrent, predictive, and social validity were assessed. Acceptable reliability and validity estimates were obtained for three of the kindergarten probe measures. The use of kindergarten CBM probes as a potential screening device to fit within a larger framework of functional academic assessment and early intervention is proposed.

Several early intervention studies have demonstrated robust effects for remediating early academic skill deficits and preventing future deficits and failure (Lennon & Slesinski 1999; Vellutino, Scanlon, & Tanzman, 1998). Mastery of readiness skills has been shown to correlate with performance during subsequent instruction on related academic tasks. For example, Gettinger (1986) found that students trained in prereading skills (e.g., letter recognition, letter naming, letter sound production) performed significantly better during subsequent reading instruction than students assigned to a matched, no-training control group. Additionally, students trained in prereading skills required fewer trials to criterion during subsequent reading instruction as compared to students who did not receive training in prereading skills. Thus, early academic performance may be predictive of later academic performance.

Early intervention is appealing to practitioners because it holds the possibility of remediation of deficits prior to the student falling behind his or her classmates. Future instructional goals require mastery of basic subskills. Early intervention allows professionals to remediate deficits that occur early in the sequence, thus potentially avoiding additional deficits because of frustration on the required subskills. In a longitudinal study, Vellutino et al. (1998) demonstrated that 67% of their experimental group became average readers and no longer qualified as learning disabled following one semester of individual tutoring in the first grade. Further, the growth rate on reading skills from first through third grade of identified low readers receiving the intervention approximated the growth rate of normal readers, lending support to the idea that ensuring mastery of early subskills prevents future deficits and failure. The conclusions of this study are limited by the absence of a control group of low rea ders not receiving the intervention. Lennon and Slesinski (1999) used a letter-naming task to identify kindergarten students who then received intensive tutoring in reading readiness skills. Students receiving the intervention significantly outperformed students assigned to the wait-list control group. Because children enter kindergarten with differing degrees of school preparation, practitioners must assess the degree to which lack of educational exposure affects the student's performance. Thus, many authors have suggested that response to intervention constitutes the primary criterion for special education classification (Lennon & Slesinski, 1999; Vellutino, Scanlon, & Tanzman, 1998; Vellutino et al. 1996).

Curriculum-based measurement (CBM) involves direct measurement of basic skills. Since the advent of CBM, multiple studies have demonstrated the technical adequacy and practical utility of CBM in planning instruction, monitoring progress, and making classification and placement decisions (see Marston, 1989 for a review). …

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