The easyCBM system is designed so progress monitoring measures can be used off grade level in order to test at the student’s instructional level.
Benchmark tests are screeners that are given to students at their grade level to see where they are academically, compared to other students in their own grade level at a particular time of year. If you already know that a student is not performing at their grade level, progress monitoring measures can be given instead.
While we don’t have one test or screener to administer to a student that pinpoints exactly where they should begin, we do have tools available to help determine the level and the skills needing improvement. The goal of the program is to help students work towards grade level standards in the 50th percentile range.
To determine the grade level tests to administer, look at the information you already have on a student. For instance, if a 4th grader is functioning below the 4th grade level, perhaps start testing them at the third grade level, especially if you see they have some risk at grade level. Drop down another grade, if the student cannot reach the 15th percentile. If the student is performing at the 50th percentile in a lower grade level, administer a measure in the next higher grade level.
For reading, the skill sets stair-step in difficulty beginning with the fundamentals of reading: Letter Names, Phoneme Segmenting, Letter Sounds, and progressing up to the more difficult skills of Word Reading Fluency, Passage Reading Fluency, and the hardest of all, Proficient Reading. The student might possibly perform better in higher grades of basic reading skills but need to drop down to lower grades on the more difficult skill sets. The goal is to determine knowledge level and their ability to read and understand words and sentences.
Refer to the “Progress Monitoring Scoring Guidelines” to compare test scores with students in the various grades levels. These guidelines will provide an idea of where skills vs. grade level lies.