Tag Archive for 'CBM'

Does monitoring progress help?

Does it actually help to monitor students’ progress and adjust instruction on the basis of how they are doing? Deborah Simmons and her colleagues provided compelling evidence that, within a tier-2 implementation of the Early Reading Intervention (ERI) program at the Kindergarten level, it surely does.

Although it was published online earlier, in the May 2015 issue of Journal of Learning Disabilities, Professor Simmons and her team described a study in which they compared the reading performace of children for whom teachers had made adjustments in the pacing of instruction, either providing additional practice on lessons or skipping lessons, to the reading performance of children who had not received the adjustments. The adjustments were based on frequent assessments of students’ progress through the ERI program.

Simmons Figure 2

Among the children who received the adjustment, they identified four different groups. The graphic at the right, taken from Simmons et al. (2015) Figure 2, depicts the four groups, as described in the following list.

Continue reading ‘Does monitoring progress help?’

Is my teaching effective?

How does one know whether one’s teaching is working? That’s a dang important question. Over on myIGDIs, Scott McConnell provides a quick and clear introduction to the answer. In How Do I Know if My Classroom Practices Are Working?, Professor McConnell explains that one needs (a) goals or standards, (b) points of comparison against which to assess change or difference, and (c) trustworthy ways of measuring students’ performance, if one is to assess the effects of one’s teaching.

Although Professor McConnell’s analysis is aimed primarily at early childhood education, it’s base is general enough to be applicable across age groups. He’s talking about Individual Growth and Development Indicators, or IGDIs. Those are important tools in an effective educator’s apron. I’m thinking myIGDIs, which provides research-based, preschool language and literacy measures, looks like a valuable site. These link nicely to RtI, CBM, and other models that align with monitoring progress systematically.

Teaching effectively and LD

Folks who are interested in effective teaching for students with Learning Disabilities (and other students as well) can learn a lot at the up-coming conference of the Division for Learning Disabilities in Baltimore (MD, US) later this month. Michael Gerber assembled a fine group of sessions, as shown at the end of this post.

Check out the all-star cast. Note the coverage of relevant topics ranging from RTI to math, primary to adolescent ages (with some adult interests included!), and skills to cognition. On top of the fine content, there will be excellent opportunities to mix and mingle with other people attending the conference as well as presenters and members of DLD’s executive board during social events that include breakfasts, a luncheon, and a reception. Lots of materials are included.

Learn more about the TeachingLD Conference 2010, including how to register on line.

  • Using Evidence-Based Interventions to Teach Primary Level Students Early Numeracy Concepts and Skills
    —Diane P. Bryant (University of Texas at Austin) & Brian R. Bryant (University of Texas at Austin)
  • The Math Learning Companion: An Individualized Intervention for Students with Math Learning Disabilities
    —Lindy Crawford (University of Colorado at Colorado Springs) & Barbara Freeman (Digital Directions International)
  • Responsive, Comprehensive, and Intensive Intervention for Older Struggling Readers
    —Lynn M. Gelzheiser (University at Albany) & Laura Hallgren Flynn (University at Albany)
  • Adults with Learning Disabilities: Current Research, Evidence-based Conclusions, and Emerging Directions
    —Paul J. Gerber (Virginia Commonwealth University)
  • Effective Rime-Based Instruction to Improve the Decoding Skills of Students with Learning Disabilities
    —Sara J. Hines (Hunter College), Jennifer T. Klein (Hunter College), & Kathleen M. Ryan (The Churchill School)
  • The Essay Writing Strategy: Helping Students Write More Organized and Complete Responses to Essay Questions and Prompts
    —Charles A. Hughes (Penn State University) & Bill Therrien (University of Iowa)
  • Strategy Training, Problem Solving, and Working Memory in Children with Math Disabilities
    —Olga Jerman (Frostig Center), Amber Moran (University of California at Santa Barbara), Cathy Lussier (University of California at Riverside), Michael Orosco (University of California at Riverside), Lee Swanson (University of California at Riverside), & Michael Gerber (University of California at Santa Barbara)
  • The Technology and Pedagogy of Universal Design for Learning
    —Peggy King-Sears (George Mason University)
  • Early Reading Intervention for Struggling Readers
    —Jill Marie Leafstedt (CSU Channel Islands) & Catherine Richards-Tutor (CSU Long Beach)
  • Response to Intervention Screening and Progress-Monitoring Practices in 41 Local Schools
    —Daryl F. Mellard (University of Kansas)
  • Strategic Instruction for Building Vocabulary
    —J. Ron Nelson (University of Nebraska, Lincoln)
  • Beyond Reading Words: Improving Reading Rate, Fluency, and Comprehension
    —Rollanda E. O’Connor (University of California at Riverside)
  • Growth in Literacy, Language, and Cognition in Children with Reading Disabilities who are English Language Learners
    —Michael J. Orosco (University of California at Riverside), Lee Swanson (University of California at Riverside), Michael Gerber (University of California at Santa Barbara), & Danielle Guzman (University of California at Santa Barbara)
  • Response to Intervention in Math: An Instructional Focus
    —Paul J. Riccomini (The Pennsylvania State University)
  • Developing Text Level Literacy Skills in Beginning Readers
    —Emily J. Solari (University of Texas Health Science Center Houston) & Alexis L. Filippini (San Francisco State University)
  • Reading Progress Monitoring for Secondary School Students: Reading-Aloud and Maze-Selection Measures
    —Renata Ticha (University of Minnesota) & Miya Miura Wayman (University of Minnesota)

Please note that I am compensated by DLD as its executive director so this is, indeed, a shameless promotion!

Spending stimulus $$

News sources around the US are abuzz with how state and local education agencies will spend the influx of funds for special education that comes with the US government’s increases in IDEA funding under the stimulus plan.

Given that these funds may be pretty fleeting (here today, gone in a couple of years?), how wise is it to invest in more teachers whom the LEAs will have to dismiss or materials that are likely to need replacement in just a few years? I’d say, “NOT!”

Why not invest in staff development, using the two-year span to ensure that virtually all teachers know how to measure progress in easy-but-rigorous ways (e.g., curriculum-based measurement), implement school-wide discipline programs, and present lessons in systematic and (dare I say it?) instructive ways?

Here are some relevant links: Research Institute on Progress Monitoring and Student Progress; School-wide Positive Behavioral Interventions & Supports.

Monitoring progress–resources

Over on Reading Rockets Kathleen McLane has an entry about monitoring progress that’s got a good intro and some valuable links. Take a look at it. There’s also video about progress monitoring in action, a link to a Web cast featuring Roland Good, Mary Ruth Coleman, and Michael C. McKenna discussing assessment including progress monitoring, and an opportunity to ask CBM guru Lynn Fuchs questions about monitoring progress (click the dropdown menu to select Professor Fuchs as the target of your question).

IRIS joins webinar effort

The IRIS Center will contribute expertise about curriculum-based assessment to a pending webinar about response-to-instruction.

WestEd’s SchoolsMovingUp website will feature another free webinar, “Response to Intervention: Online Professional Development Modules and Resources for Classroom Assessment,” on Wednesday, February 18, from 10:30 a.m. – 12:00 p.m. Pacific Time (1:30 p.m. – 3:00 p.m. Eastern Time).

This interactive webinar will highlight free online professional development modules and resources provided by the IRIS (IDEA ’04 and Research for Inclusive Settings) Center for Training Enhancements to support the validated practice of monitoring students’ progress and curriculum-based assessment, a cornerstone of Response to Intervention (RtI). The presenters – Silvia DeRuvo, Senior Program Associate at the California Comprehensive Center at WestEd; Kimberly Skow, Project Coordinator of The IRIS Center; and Debbie DeBerry, practicing School Psychologist in Hardeman County, Tennessee – will discuss how these online professional development resources have been used to assist teachers in the essential practice of progress monitoring. This webinar is cosponsored by SchoolsMovingUp, the IRIS Center, and the California Comprehensive Center at WestEd.

Jump to the IRIS Center for more.

Dear Mr. Gates

I read with interest your statement about the work of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation (2009 Annual Letter from Bill Gates). Thank you for the efforts of the foundation in so many important areas (global health, agriculture, etc.).

Given my own focus, I was especially interested in your discussion about US education. I appreciate your candor in assessing the successes and failures of the foundation’s efforts in education, as reflected in this quotation:

Nine years ago, the foundation decided to invest in helping to create better high schools, and we have made over $2 billion in grants. The goal was to give schools extra money for a period of time to make changes in the way they were organized (including reducing their size), in how the teachers worked, and in the curriculum. The hope was that after a few years they would operate at the same cost per student as before, but they would have become much more effective.

Many of the small schools that we invested in did not improve students’ achievement in any significant way. These tended to be the schools that did not take radical steps to change the culture, such as allowing the principal to pick the team of teachers or change the curriculum. We had less success trying to change an existing school than helping to create a new school.

Even so, many schools had higher attendance and graduation rates than their peers. While we were pleased with these improvements, we are trying to raise college-ready graduation rates, and in most cases, we fell short.

Later in your statement, you rightly emphasize the importance of helping “teachers be more effective in the classroom.” I want to underscore this point, because I consider it critical to enhancing the strength of US education and, thereby, improving outcomes for students in our schools. For students to gain access to higher education, they must have the competence required in foundational areas such as mathematics, written expression, and content knowledge. Achieving that competence requires teachers who employ effective methods of teaching.

Indeed, the idea undergirding this Web site is that we know lots about teaching effectively. When they have the right tools and use them skillfully, teachers can have effects on students’ performance that may appear to be small but that, in fact, turn out to be changes in trajectory which play critical roles in improving students’ outcome in the longer term.

Students who, during their early schooling, become facile with the decoding aspects of reading, the computational aspects of arithmetic, and the more mechanical aspects of writing will have initial and sustained advantages in learning content later. Similarly, those who master the fundamental aspects of algebra during the later elementary and early secondary grades will have greater opportunities to pursue advanced studies in mathematics, science, and technology. Equipping teachers with the tools and skills to deflect students’ trajectories in these areas will help mightily in improving education.

Based on a large body of research, we know pretty much how to accomplish this. It is clear that systematic, explicit instructional practices (e.g., Direct Instruction) promote measurably improved outcomes for students. And, it’s important for teachers to be able to see the fruits of their efforts. It’s not enough to present lessons and hope that students will do well years later; we need to refocus on students’ progress at a more micro level if teachers are to be able to see progress, and adjust instruction quickly to meet students’ need (curriculum-based measurement or precision teaching). Interestingly, much of this research comes from special education, where the very nature of the population of students requires efficient teaching.

The formula is actually relatively simple:

  1. Faithfully implement evidence-based instructional practices and curricula that systematically teach students requisite skills and knowledge from the get-go;
  2. Initially differentiate instruction on the basis of students’ prior learning;
  3. Frequently monitor students’ acquisition of skills and knowledge as they develop; and
  4. Systematically adjust instruction on the basis of students’ learning.

I suspect that a relatively small investment per teacher (say, $5000/yr) in a key area (algebra, for example) aimed at preparing the teachers to provide instruction based on these four principles would yield valuable results. And once those teachers see the benefits to their students, I suspect few will go back to teaching in the comfortable-but-ineffective ways of the past. At the least, this proposition is a testable hypothesis. If one wanted to make a really powerful test, it would be good to focus on teachers from a few score inner city schools.

If you’d like to give this idea a whirl, let me know. Meanwhile, keep up the good works in those other areas.


John Wills Lloyd, Ph.D.
John [at] JohnWillsLloyd [dot] com

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