Curriculum based measurement of oral reading (CBM-R) is used to monitor the effects of academic interventions for individual students. Decisions to continue, modify, or terminate these interventions are made by interpreting time series CBM-R data. Such interpretation is founded upon visual analysis or the application of decision rules. The purpose of this study was to compare the accuracy of visual analysis and decision rules. Visual analysts interpreted 108 CBM-R progress monitoring graphs one of three ways: (a) without graphic aids, (b) with a goal line, or (c) with a goal line and a trend line. Graphs differed along three dimensions, including trend magnitude, variability of observations, and duration of data collection. Automated trend line and data point decision rules were also applied to each graph. Inferential analyses permitted the estimation of the probability of a correct decision (i.e., the student is improving – continue the intervention, or the student is not improving – discontinue the intervention) for each evaluation method as a function of trend magnitude, variability of observations, and duration of data collection. All evaluation methods performed better when students made adequate progress. Visual analysis and decision rules performed similarly when observations were less variable. Results suggest that educators should collect data for more than six weeks, take steps to control measurement error, and visually analyze graphs when data are variable. Implications for practice and research are discussed.
- Curriculum based measurement
- Progress monitoring