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***Post written by Wyoming School Psychology Association Member***

Refocusing the Purpose of Curriculum-Based Assessment

Models of Curriculum-Based Assessment have been prevalent in School Psychology research with at least four common: Curriculum-Based Measurement, Curriculum-Based Evaluation, Criterion Referenced Curriculum-Based Assessment and Curriculum-Based Assessment for Instructional Design (Shinn, Rosenfield & Knutson, 1989). Research conducted on curriculum-based assessment has documented concerns in three primary areas the validity and reliability of a single score, the relationship between CBM tracking and overall competence in an academic area and the application of CBM data to instructional decision making (Fuchs, 2004). Focus on Curriculum-Based Assessment for Instructional Design is an important assessment avenue for school psychologists. A standard procedure for assessing a students’ understanding of instructional material can be used to determine needed interventions in order to access and participate with grade-level content (Treptow, Burns & McComas, 2007). Specifically, the curriculum-based assessment process is used to document the instructional level of a text presented to a student to determine if students need pre-teaching of content, vocabulary or specific materials prior to working with grade-level content (Burns, 2017). Tracking and thereby assessing a student’s ability to read, comprehend or work with grade-level content presents a Curriculum-Based Assessment for Instruction Design evaluation approach that school psychologists can use to encourage teachers and special educators to use when working with students who may not read or work on grade level.


Shinn, M., Rosenfield, S., Knutson, N. (1989). Curriculum-based assessment: A comparison of models. School Psychology Review, 18, (3), 289-316.

Fuchs. L., (2004) The past, present, and future of curriculum-based measurement research. School Psychology Review, 33, (2), 188-192.

Treptow, M., Burns, M., McComas, J. (2007). Reading at the frustration, instructional, and independent levels: The effects on students’ reading comprehension and time on task. School Psychology Review, 36, (1), 159–166.

Burns, M. (2017) Curriculum-based assessment for instructional design: Using assessment for intervention. Workshop Presented at National Convention for School Psychologists.