Academic journal article School Psychology Review

Oral Reading Fluency and Prediction of Reading Comprehension in African American and Caucasian Elementary School Children

Academic journal article School Psychology Review

Oral Reading Fluency and Prediction of Reading Comprehension in African American and Caucasian Elementary School Children

Article excerpt

Abstract. This study examined the differential predictive bias of CBM in reading across African American and Caucasian students in Grades 2 through 5. Participants included 136 students who were administered CBM oral reading fluency passages and the Reading Comprehension subtest of the Woodcock-Johnson Psychoeducational Battery--Revised. A series of hierarchical multiple regression analyses indicated that CBM neither over- or underpredicted reading comprehension skills controlling for age, sex, and socioeconomic status. Results of this study suggest that CEM continues to appear to be a sensitive form of direct reading assessment in the local curriculum for both African American and Caucasian elementary-age students.

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Curriculum-based measurement (CBM) is a set of standardized and specific measurement procedures that can be used to quantify student performance in the basic academic skill areas of reading, spelling, mathematics computation, and written expression (Deno, 1985; Demo & Fuchs, 1987; Fuchs & Deno, 1991; Shinn, 1989). GEM uses alternate-form test items of relatively equal difficulty selected from the general education curriculum for the purpose of making educational decisions (Deno, 1989). For example, in reading, connected text passages of similar difficulty are drawn from graded curricular materials and are administered individually to students to index their proficiency summatively (i.e., comparing an individual student's performance to grade level peers) and formatively (i.e., examination of an individual student's growth over time). A substantive body of literature exists demonstrating the efficacy of CBM and its use in screening, progress monitoring, program planning, and program evaluation (Shinn & Bamonto , 1998).

CBM has been offered as a direct form of academic assessment for the determination of educational need and resource allocation. With a focus on socially important variables that can be implemented on a frequent and continuous basis, CBM represents a dynamic form of assessment whereby the interaction between instruction and student skill development is monitored on a continual basis (Mercer & Ysseldyke, 1977; Ysseldyke & Regan, 1980). Moreover, because performance is assessed in the curriculum content of the local education community, CBM avoids some of the often-cited criticisms of more commonly used, commercially available norm-referenced assessment techniques. Because assessment activities are developed directly from the school curriculum and student performance is referenced to locally derived standards, CBM has demonstrated high levels of diagnostic and treatment utility--contributing greatly to the enhancement of classroom instruction (Fuchs, 1993; Fuchs, Deno, & Mirkin, 1984; Fuchs, Fuchs, Hamlett, & Fe rguson, 1992).

Surprisingly, although the research literature is replete documenting the psychometric properties of the CBM metric (cf. Marston, 1989), very few have examined possible sources of bias as a function of race or ethnic status. As such, the extent to which CBM is related to current or future performance on measures other than itself as a function of ethnicity is unknown. If CBM differentially predicted word recognition skills, reading comprehension performance, or any other related reading skill as a function of ethnicity, then the measure would be biased for one group over another. Testing for such bias involves the use of regression analysis as a means of predicting performance on a secondary measure (e.g., test of reading comprehension) on the basis of a person's CBM score. For example, if two groups of people differing only in ethnicity with exactly the same CBM reading scores are predicted to have systematically different reading comprehension scores (as predicted from the CBM scores) the conclusion would b e that CBM scores are biased in their prediction of reading comprehension as a function of ethnicity. …

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