Getting acquainted with easyCBM
EasyCBM® was designed by researchers at the University of Oregon as an integral part of an RTI (Response to Intervention) model. From the start, developers have emphasized the goal of the system: to help facilitate good instructional decision-making. This project began with a grant from the federal Office of Special Education Programs in 2006, but it has continued to expand with the help of our school district partners across the state of Oregon and – more recently – across the United States. In the fall of 2009,there were over 20,000 registered users on the site, spread out across the 50 states. By September of 2010, this number had grown to over 68,000, representing over half a million students.
The assessments on the system are what is known as curriculum-based measures (CBMs). CBMs are standardized measures that sample from a year’s worth of curriculum to assess the degree to which students have mastered the skills and knowledge deemed critical at each grade level. The CBMs on the easyCBM® system are often referred to as ‘next-generation CBMs’ because we used an advanced form of statistics, Item Response Theory (IRT) during measurement development to increase the consistency of the alternate forms of each measure type and increase the sensitivity of the measures to monitor growth. At each grade level, alternate forms of each measure type are designed to be of equivalent difficulty, so as teachers monitor student progress over time, changes in score reflect changes in student skill rather than changes in the test forms.