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What is a CBA, CBM and CBE?

A Curriculum Based Measurement is a standardized assessment that has specific directions, is timed and has scoring rules. CBMs are a criterion based measurement that measures the mastery of a skill. The most important part of a CBM is that test what the student was specifically taught and expected to learn. CBMs can be given repeatedly to the same student. They are quick, efficient and with a little training very easy to give. CBMs are often used for universal screening and for progress monitoring. An example of a CBM is Aimsweb or DIBELS.

Curriculum Based Evaluations are used in problem analysis. They are survey level assessments that provide information on a student’s instructional level. These evaluations are then directly linked to an intervention given. CBEs are often used in universal screening and are useful in designing interventions for specific students.

A Curriculum Based Assessment is a test written by a teacher. They also focus on evaluating what a student learned from the instruction they were given in a specific course or topic. A weekly spelling test based on a spelling list is an example of a CBA.


CBMs are timed: True or False

CBMs are can be given multiple times: True or False

CBEs are used in the RTI process: True or False

This quiz is a CBA: True or False

CBMs and CBEs can be used for universal screening: True or False

Resource: The ABCs of CBM by Michelle Hosp, John Hosp and Kenneth Howell

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RTI vs Traditional Report

Traditional psych0educational reports are very comprehensive and extensive. One can get easily lost in the volume of the report and miss the important points. The data given is also very general making it difficult to make specific recommendations or define specific goals for students’ academic and social functioning. One positvie aspect of traditional reports are he extensive interviews given. This allows the psychologist to gather information from various sources. However traditional reports sometiems focus solely on student’s deficients making it likely a student will be placed in special education.

In contrast RTI reports are brief ,but more specific in their data. RTI reports provide detailed interventions given to targets specific skills and frequently collect data to monitor progress. They also provide recommendations for parents with a home-school link section. RTI reports are also more visual and provide graphs and charts. They show if a student is responding to an intervention which makes a decision about a possible special education placement more valid and reliable.

Overall for academic areas and learning disabilities RTI reports are the best. For socio-emotional functioning a traditional report might be more appropriate. For both reports there always needs to be data and evidence to back any conclusions made about a student.

It is important to note that a red flag for both reports are computer generated texts and graphs that are not incorporated into the overall report. In every report given by a psychologists clinical words should be defined and all information provided should be understandable to both parents and teachers. A report that does not include an observation or time spent with a student is a problem as well as a report that does not emphasize student strengths.

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Learning Styles: Fact or Myth?

Dr. Willingham made a wonderful video about the theory of learning styles. These theory states students learn a certain way. For example, an auditory learning would listen to a book on tape and then write an English paper instead of reading the book. Although he goes onto disprove this theory which is not based on science, 90% of undergrads at a large university believe in this theory!  Some people may have an aptitude in one area over another and they may pick up on tasks that use this aptitude quickly, but that does not mean every skill should be taught this way! For example, someone with verbal ability may understand science through reading the science book, but they still need the basic skills of labeling a plant which is always going to be taught using a visual. That student might already understand the definitions of the plants parts, but they still need to be able to recognize these parts on an actual plant.

So as a teacher you always use multiple instructional formats such as written handouts, lectures and a visual such as a PowerPoint. Children also learn best when they are engaged! Providing time for peer sharing or cooperative learning may be useful.

Teachers should maximize learning time and aim to increase content understanding giving time for students to practice the new skill and giving multiple examples.  Teachers should have students apply their new skills to new problems and use higher order thinking such as synthesis, evaluation and analysis. Place the cognitive demand on the student!

The quality of feedback given to students when teaching is also essential to their learning.  Have students explain their thinking and give hints and prompts as form scaffolding. Grades should be given, but with a rubric or comments about what they did well and what specifically they should work on. Good teaching will enable all students to learn!

If a teacher wants to individualize help for a struggling student they should use Response to Intervention with data collection and an emphasis on using evidence based practices.The first tier has the most students is regular instruction. Tier two has provides supplemental instruction and the third tier has a few students and offers intensive supports. This provides meets all student’s needs!

RTI Resources:




Evidence Based Practices Resources:


Best Practices Clearning House: ies.ed.gov/ncee/wwc

What Works Clearning House: ies.ed.gov/ncee/wwc

Watch the Dr. Willlingham at http://www.thepsychfiles.com/2009/03/episode-90-learning-styles-myth-an-interview-with-daniel-willingham/

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Favorite Intervention #5

Story Mapping:

Purpose: To increase comprehensive and content area reading. Worksheet of a story map includes questions on setting, characters, the problems, the goal, the action and the outcome.



see www.hishelpinschool.com/learning/storymap.html orhttp://www.tooter4kids.com/classroom/Story_Map.htm


1. Have the students read a story silently.

2.Fill out a story map as a whole class

3. During the second class period have the student read the story silently and fill out the story map themselves.

4. Review the story map as a group.


Compare reading comprehensive of a shorty story using a quiz and then compare the average scores before and after the intervention.

My Evaluation:

I liked this strategy because the researchers discovered that the students would be able to identity what was important in the story even when they didn’t fill out the worksheet. The intervention was still successful even when it was discontinued!

Resource: Academic Skills Problems by Edward Shapiro

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Favorite Intervention #4

Cover Copy Compare

Purpose:  This is a math based stagey for students to provide themselves with corrective feedback and monitor their own learning.


Index cards


  1. Look at the problem.
  2. Cover the problem with an index card.
  3. Write the solution on the right side of the page.
  4. Remove the index card and compare the problem to the solution.
  5. Evaluate the answer.

Evaluation: Compare the percentage of correct answers before and after the intervention.

My Evaluation:

This is a great strategy to remind student to recheck their work for errors. It also may be helpful to provide them with the correct answer and have them cover-copy-compare their answers to a key.  This strategy might also work with other subjects such as science or spelling.

Resource: Academic Skills Problems 4th Edition by Edward Sharipo

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Favorite Intervention #3

Summarization Strategy:

Purpose: This intervention was specifically written to increase understanding for science text, but could be used with in other subjects.


Sample text

Transparency/overhead projector

Summary Worksheet


  1. Introduce the strategy.
  2. Define a summary.
  3. Highlight cues in the text such as underlined or bolded words and sentences.
  4. Read a passage out loud.
  5. Work through the nine steps as a group.
  6. During the second period have the students fill out the worksheet as a large group then have them individually write a summary.
  7. Put the students in pairs and have them share their summaries and get peer feedback.
  8. Provide corrective feedback to the students.
  9. Repeat until the students have achieved 90% accuracy.


Compare the percentage of important information in summaries before and after the intervention.

My Evaluation:

I think this a great intervention that can generalize to other subject areas. I also feel the students should be instructed to use highlighters so they can learn how to find what information is important and go back to it when needed.  This also throws in the concept of identity the big ideas!

Effective School Interventions 2nd Edition by Natalie Rathvon

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Favorite Intervention #2

Debriefing: Helping students Solve their own behavior problems

This intervention has three purposes; help the student find what triggers their inappropriate behavior, help the student find appropriate replacement behaviors to prevent problem behaviors in the future.

Materials: Debriefing worksheet


Record the number of reprimands you give to a specific student for a week.

  1. When you notice the problem behavior gives the student the usual consequence.
  2. After the consequence is given talk to the students about possible causes of their behavior and possible.
  3. Discuss alternative behaviors they could use in the future.
  4. Have the student fill out the debriefing form.
  5. Review the worksheet with the student. Have them sign it and send a copy home to their guardian.
  6. Provide positive praise when you notice the student using the replacement behavior.


Compare the number of reprimands given to the student before and after the intervention.

My Evaluation: I liked this intervention because it using the Problem Solving Method which comes out of Cognitive Behavioral Therapy. It also reminds me of a Functional Behavioral Assessment. It also asks similar question like, What happens before the behavior and alternative behaviors? However it leaves out the function of the behavior so perhaps the student should be prompted to ask about what they were trying to achieve through the behavior.

Effective School Interventions 2nd Edition by Natalie Rathvon

For Problem Solving Worksheets see http:downloads.bbc.co.uk/headroom/cbt/structured_problem_solving.pdf or www.adhdnews.com/ws.htm

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Favorite Intervention One

Effective Praise

Purpose: This method improves academic achievement, motivation, self –efficacy and persistence.

Materials: None


  1. Select a student who has difficult time in a given subject or usually displays problem behaviors.
  2. Catch the student being good. Make eye-contact and then make a positive statement based on a specific observation..  Praise should be based on effort and strategies rather than the outcome or grade. For example,  “Jane good job focusing on your math assignment today.”
  3. Have a goal of 5-10 positive per period to the target student with an additional five positive statements directed to the whole class.

4 .Provide praise for both academics and behavior. 

5. You can give public or private praise depending on which is more comfortable for the student.


Compare the frequency of problematic behavior for the student before, during and after the intervention.

My Evaluation:

I think this is a great strategy for working with difficult students. Public statements can serve as a reminder or cue to the other students. With older students hand written notes might also be effective and perhaps they could keep them as reminders of their good work.

Source: Effective School Interventions 2nd Edition by Natalie Rathvon

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Criterion vs Norm-referenced Assessments

Normed referenced assessments are assessments that compare a student’s scores to other students of the same age or grade. Some examples are the WIATT 3 and the Woodcock Johnson Test of Academic Achievement. A Criterion Referenced Assessment is an assessment based on an academic standard. A student basically passes or fails a criterion referenced assessment. Examples of these assessments are state wide tests of achievement one must pass in order to graduate high school.

The pros of Norm Referenced Assessment are that you are given a percentage to see where a student stands in relation to their classmates. A negative aspect of these tests is that they are not neccesaringly based on the instruction given in class and a student cannot be expected to understand material they have not had the opportunity to be exposed to.  This makes their validity questionable.

Criterion Referenced Assessments provide an absolution standard. These tests can be used to guide instruction or be used as a universal screening measure. However on the negative side, the standard is arbitrary and may not provide meaningful data. One cannot decide if a student has a learning disability from these tests because they do not provide specific information on academic performance because they are essentially pass/fail. They are not helpful in measuring progress.

The controversy over norm referenced test are the do not assess what is being taught in the classroom. They also focus on what is wrong with a child rather than assessing the academic environment.  The sample can also be a problem because they do not always include all demographic categories.

Resource: http://www.edtech.vt.edu/edtech/id/assess/purposes.html

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