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Curriculum-Based Measurement - Now What?

Curriculum and Teaching-Teaching Practices Curriculum-Based Measurement (CBM) is a way for educators to gather precise information about what their students know; record (chart) these data, and measure their learning progress over time. The good news about CBM is that by targeting and sampling performance in specific skill areas, teachers can choose instructional materials and implement teaching strategies that attack students' areas of need. Less guesswork, more purposeful instruction, better results. Sounds like a plan, right?

So let's take the next step together and ask some guiding questions:

  • Once we've identified skills that are lacking, what exactly are we supposed to do?
  • How do we select materials (from the thousands of choices available) that have the best likelihood of helping students learn?
  • What conditions (in school and at home) are likely to enhance the acquisition and retention of newly learned skills?

The answers to these questions are your keys to success:

  • Decide what your students need to learn and let this be your explicit focus of attention.
  • Select appropriate materials, provide systematic and explicit instruction, and use data to monitor progress.
  • Engage EVERYONE who is close to these children in opportunities to provide practice and reinforcement and support.

Let's decide, for example, that reading in pre-kindergarten and the early grades is your explicit area of focus. A good place to start might be to address the five components of reading identified by the National Reading Panel (NRP) as "necessary" (but not sufficient) to the reading process. Once you know where children are in their mastery of skills in the areas of phonemic awareness (PA), systematic phonics (PH), fluency (F), vocabulary (V), and text comprehension (C), you can begin to select materials and instructional approaches that will assist you in helping students develop competencies in these essential areas.

Here are a few research-based strategies and approaches to teaching reading that have been mentioned in the professional literature. They are offered as possible options as you search for products and programs to assist you in achieving your goals with students in your classrooms. These products are not endorsed or recommended by NCLD. That's your decision to make based on your individual classroom needs. And be sure to reach out to others including:

  • Professionals in your local school community (i.e. reading specialists, psychologists, special educators, speech-language pathologists, school administrators and counselors).
  • Experts who have published studies or presented at conferences. (They are often available by email with contact information found on the Web.)
  • Educational publisher representatives. (They are usually eager to provide information and technical assistance about their products.)
Program or Strategy NRP Components
Great Leaps      
Let's Play Learn
LIPS: The Lindamood Phoneme Sequencing Program      
Open Court    
Orton - Gillingham Institute for Multi-Sensory Education      
Project Read      
Reading Recovery    
Read, Write & Type!    
Reading Mastery Signature Edition 2008
The Slingerland Approach      
The Sonday System
The Spaulding Method    

Voyager Passport

The Wilson Reading System


Other Helpful Resources

Birsh, Judith R. (1999). Multisensory Teaching of Basic Language Skills. Paul H. Brookes Publishing. Baltimore, MD.

Henry, Marcia K. (2003). Unlocking Literacy: Effective Decoding & Spelling Instruction. Paul H. Brookes Publishing. Baltimore, MD.

Moats, Louisa Cook, (2000). Speech to Print: Language Essential for Teachers. Paul H. Brookes Publishing. Baltimore, MD.

Shaywitz, Sally. (2003). Overcoming Dyslexia: A New and Complete Science-Based Program for Reading Problems at Any Level. Alfred A. Knopf. New York, NY.

Wood, Tracey. (2004). Teaching Kids to Read for Dummies. Wiley Publishing. New York, NY.

Sheldon H. Horowitz, Ed.D. is the Director of LD Resources & Essential Information at the National Center for Learning Disabilities.