The easyCBM system is designed for benchmark assessments to be given at a students’ actual grade level (progress monitoring measures can be used off grade level) for grades K-8th grade.
Benchmark tests are actually screeners and are given to students at their grade level to see where they are academically, compared to 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, administer progress monitoring measures 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 and work to improve skill levels in reading and math. 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. Based on the results, assess them above or below in grades and/or skill levels. 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 his skills vs. grade level lies. Continue to administer assessments to determine his skill ability and grade level aptitude.
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.
For a student performing below grade level, assess them at different grade levels. The goal is for them to perform at their expected grade level as soon as possible and at the 50th percentile.