Curriculum Based Measurement and Language
Proficiency in English Language Learners
Ella Farmer, M.Ed.; Laura Swanlund, M.Ed, NCSP; Kathy Pluymert, Ph.D, NCSP
Community Consolidated School District #15, Palatine IL
NASP 2010
The need for this study
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Large, elementary district with a diverse student body
CBMs introduced at the district level in the 2008-2009
school year as part of the transition to RTI
We wanted to see if CBMs were a reliable indicator of
growth rates for ELLs
We wanted to understand the rate of growth for ELLs in
relation to instruction
What led up to this study
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Data showed that some ELL students were not
transferring literacy skills into English
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By 4,5,6th grade the students were not making progress on
standardized achievement tests (Measures of Academic Progress)
Performing poorly in the classroom
We need a process that looks at dual discrepancy
compared to the correct peer group.
Teachers and administrators questioned whether CBMs
were a reliable measure for ELLs
Research on this topic
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Students who enter kindergarten with limited English proficiency
lag behind their peers in reading achievement through 5th grade.
Controlling for risk factors such as SES reduces the effect of LEP
status on achievement (Kieffer, 2008)
Reading CBM assessments have been found to be reliable, valid, and
sensitive measures to use with bilingual Hispanic students (Baker &
Good, 1995)
Moderate correlations have also been found between ELL students’
performance on reading CBM measures and a state standards test
(Wiley & Deno, 2005)
When using both Spanish and English CBMs with bilingual students,
rates of improvement in both languages were significantly lower for
ELLs than that which is seen in the overall population (Dominguez
de Ramirez and Shapiro, 2006)
Our research questions
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Is there a significant difference in initial R-CBM scores or
rate of growth when comparing ELLs and English-speaking
peers?
Is there a correlation between English language
proficiency and R-CBM or rate of improvement?
Is there a difference in initial R-CBM score or rate of
growth depending on SES, reading intervention, or type of
ESL instruction?
The data
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Large, suburban school district with 15 elementary schools
Four schools selected based on concentration of ELLs and
available CBM data
N= 1,197 students, Grades 1-3
Measures included:
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R-CBM scores for fall, winter, and spring
ROI from fall to spring
English Language Proficiency (ACCESS for ELLs composite score)
SES (free or reduced lunch status)
ELL status
Reading intervention
Type of ESL instruction (Bilingual or Resource)
Descriptive data
Grade
Total N
% Reading
Intervention
% Free/Reduced
Lunch
Grade 1
407
19.7%
49.1%
Grade 1 ELL
163 (40.0%)
16.6%
79.8%
Grade 2
390
19.5%
50.0%
Grade 2 ELL
139 (35.6%)
25.9%
82.3%
Grade 3
400
24.0%
49.8%
Grade 3 ELL
125 (31.3%)
47.2%
84.8%
TOTAL
1,197
Total ELL
427 (35.7%)
Average R-CBM Scores and ROI
Mean Fall Std. Dev.
R-CBM
(WRC)
Mean ROI
Std. Dev.
(WRC/week
)
Grade 1
19.46
31.15
1.41
0.74
Grade 1 ELL
9.35
17.53
1.18
0.73
Grade 1 NonELL
27.71
36.99
1.58
0.80
Grade 2
63.02
38.06
1.25
0.34
Grade 2 ELL
37.76
30.11
1.36
0.54
Grade 2 NonELL
75.66
35.75
1.20
0.38
Grade 3
87.81
32.28
1.00
1.16
Grade 3 ELL
69.54
30.66
0.87
0.28
Correlations between R-CBM and ACCESS
N
Mean
ACCESS
Score
Std.
Dev.
Pearson
Correlation
Sig. (2tailed)
Grade 1 Winter RCBM
99
3.21
0.80
.725**
.000
Grade 1 ROI
96
.548**
.000
Grade 2 Winter RCBM
94
.765**
.000
Grade 2 ROI
92
.053
.614
Grade 3 Winter RCBM
79
.555**
.000
Grade 3 ROI
76
.084
.472
3.62
4.14
0.93
0.86
HLM
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What we did:
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For each grade looked at R-CBM and predictor (i.e. SES and
ELL status)
Looked at initial CBM status and rate of growth
Intercept for each grade = Average fall R-CBM score
Slope for each grade = Rate of growth
Looked at the above based on SES, ELL status, and Reading
Intervention
Separate analysis for ELL students only, looking at ESL
instruction, Reading Intervention, and SES as predictors
Because there were moderate to strong correlations between
ACCESS scores and R-CBM, this variable was not added as a
predictor
Level 1 Analysis
Grade
1 all
Grade
1 ELL
Grade
2 all
Grade
2 ELL
Grade
3 all
Grade
3 ELL
Correlation
between RCBM
and Growth
.111
.384
-.235
-.109
.054
.515
Average initial
RCBM
19.46
9.346
63.02
37.76
87.81
69.64
Average WPM
Growth per
week
1.48
1.17
1.25
1.36
.99
.87
At all levels there was significant variation around the intercept and slope, which
means that since there is variance we can look at factors that may contribute to the
variance, such as SES status, ELL status, and intervention status.
Fall Initial Score difference from students with higher
SES and non-ESL by grade
Average
RCBM no
risk factors
32.4
83.93
103.08
Fall Growth Rate Score difference from students with
no intervention, higher SES, and non-ELL by grade
Average RCBm
Growth per
week
1.72
1.23
.99
Fall Initial Score difference from ELL students in
Resource and higher SES
Average
RCBM no
risk factors
22.71
56.93
85.98
Fall Growth Rate Score difference from ELL students
in Resource and higher SES
Average RCBm
Growth per
week
1.57
1.59
.96
Summary of the findings
HLM- All students
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Students in grades 1-2 show significant growth on CBM measures. This is true of
ELL students as well as English –speaking students. While most students in grade 3
demonstrate significant growth over the school year, some do not.
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ELL students and lower SES students have lower initial (Fall) CBM scores at all
grade levels, when compared to peers with no risk factors.
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ELL students improve at a lower rate than their peers in first grade. However, this
reverses and their rate of improvement is significantly higher than their peers in
second grade. In third grade, there is no significant difference in rates of
improvement when comparing ELL students and English-speaking students.
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In third grade, students who are lower SES improve at a higher rate than their
peers who are not at risk.
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Students who are receiving reading intervention have a significantly lower rate of
improvement than do their peers who are not receiving intervention.
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For all students in all grades, correlations between slope and intercept were weak
to moderate.
Summary
HLM- ELL Students
 ELL students from lower SES backgrounds in grade 1 have lower initial RCBM scores.
 ELL students who are lower SES in grade 2 have significantly lower rates of
growth than their ELL peers of higher SES.
 ELL students in grade 1 who receive reading intervention have significantly
lower rates of growth than their ELL peers who are not receiving
intervention.
 In grades 2 and 3, ELL students who are in a bilingual program have lower
initial R-CBM scores than do their peers who receive ESL resource
support. This is consistent with the finding that R-CBM scores are highly
correlated with ACCESS scores.
 There are no significant differences in ROI depending on the type of ESL
program (bilingual or resource) that students receive.
Implications for ELLs
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When looking for a dual discrepancy under RTI, ELL
students’ initial R-CBM scores should be compared to
ELL peers.
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Compare rate of improvement to ELL peers
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A lower initial Fall R-CBM score is expected for this group
when compared to English Speaking peers, therefore, it is best
to compare initial scores to ELL peers
The results suggest that in all grade levels ELL students should
be making consistent progress on the R-CBM during the year
ELL progress should be considered in terms of ACCESS,
SES status, ESL status, and academic year
Limitations
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Did not examine early literacy measures for Grade 1.
Research suggests that NWF may be a more reliable and
valid measure than RCBM (Vanderwood, Linklater, &
Healy, 2008)
ELL students in this study were primarily Spanish-speaking
Did not examine predictive validity
Did not examine Spanish RCBM scores
Use of this data for our district
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Triangulation of data
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Administration, teachers, and specialists received training on how to
integrate multiple data sources for ELL students
Used of the results in order to determine the ELL peer
comparison expected scores and growth rates
Examined the curriculum and appropriate tier 2 interventions
Data analysis occurred at multiple levels
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Program evaluation
School-wide data digs
Quarterly grade level data meetings
Individual problem solving
Future directions
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Need to examine predictive validity of R-CBM and
correlation with other measures, such as MAP and ISAT
Need to examine data for grades 4-8
Need to examine early literacy data for grades K-1
References
Baker, S. K., & Good, R. (1995). Curriculum-based measurement of English
reading with bilingual Hispanic students: A validation. School Psychology
Review, 24(4), 561.
De Ramírez, R. D., & Shapiro, E. S. (2006). Curriculum-Based Measurement and
the evaluation of reading skills of Spanish-speaking English language learners
in bilingual education classrooms. School Psychology Review, 35(3), 356.
Kieffer, M. J. (2008). Catching up or falling behind? Initial English proficiency,
concentrated poverty, and the reading growth of language minority learners
in the united states. Journal of Educational Psychology, 100(4), 851-868.
Vanderwood, M. L., Linklater, D., & Healy, K. (2008). Predictive accuracy of
Nonsense Word Fluency for English language learners. School Psychology
Review, 37(1), 5.
Wiley, H. I., & Deno, S. L. (2005). Oral reading and maze measures as
predictors of success for English learners on a state standards assessment.
Remedial and Special Education, 26(4), 207.
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