EasyCBM is a program I’ve used for a few years. EasyCBM offers free curriculum based measurements for you to use within your classroom. The site is free and offers probes for literacy and math from K – 8. The provided probes and data are similar to AIMSweb and DIBELS. However, EasyCBM is free!
I’ve used AIMSweb for three years. Personally, I’m not really a fan of ‘data and testing;’ however, I’ve found when it’s not mandated, the tools can be insightful to drive one’s instruction. Stated differently, in the past, I’ve been obligated to progress monitor bi-weekly and, at times, feel as though I was teaching fluency… which is simply wild – because I feel that when reading is taught naturally, with strategic lessons, fluency would never be taught in isolation. I’m fully aware that without adequate fluency, comprehension might be broken as the focus becomes on decoding as opposed to maintaining engagement within the text. I completed my Master Thesis on Response to Intervention at the Middle School Level. With that being stated, I’m confident sharing that I’ve seen too many middle school students in intervention classes ‘learning how to read.’ Interesting enough… most of these intervention classes don’t actually have the students reading but rather doing ‘drill and kill’ activities.
I’ve never heard of a coach having their players never set foot on a field, arena, rink, etc… before playing. Of course, they practice moves in isolation; however, to become better at ‘the game,’ they must actually be able to ‘enjoy playing the game.’ Sadly, too many middle school aged children have told me that they ‘don’t like reading’ or even worse… can’t name a favorite book (let alone series).
My point in mentioning my strong feelings of refraining from testing might seem hypocritical when sharing this resource. Actually, it’s precisely my point… balance. Data and testing is alright when it doesn’t become the focus of your instruction. Stated differently, never ‘teach to the test.’ Rather – I find it helpful to simply use the results to guide (not drive) my instruction: differentiation, grouping, and reteaching.
I’ve set up a ‘test student’ and a ‘demo class’ to show you inside the account I’ve set up.
I’ve taken two of the reading comprehension assessment to show you how the data is displayed.
This is an example of a demo class I set up to show you how the data is displayed for a whole class. I really like how the questions are separated into literal and inferential – showing you how your class, as a whole, preforms on both types of questions. Thus, you can now focus your mini-lesson on teaching how to infer or back it up a bit and teach how to tackle ‘right there’ questions.
One item I didn’t mention is that I actually prefer EasyCBM’s comprehension component to that of AIMSweb because AIMSweb uses the cloze reading assessment where EasyCBM uses an actual reading passage with varying questions to follow. I feel as though the cloze reading assessment doesn’t adequately measure reading comprehension in the three minute timed test.
Even though I’ve read the extensive research… my common sense just isn’t convinced.