easyCBM Reading

What is easyCBM Reading?

easyCBM Reading is a set of measures for assessing early literacy skills from kindergarten to sixth grade. Some of the measures are group administered and some are individually administered. Testing can be administered online and via HiFi Reading, a tablet-based app. easyCBM Reading was developed within federally funded research projects specifically for use within a Response to Intervention (RTI) framework.

Measure Measurement Area
Letter Names (LN) Risk Indicator
Letter Sounds (LS) Alphabetic Principle and Phonics
Phoneme Segmenting (PS) Phonological Awareness
Word Reading Fluency (WRF) Alphabetic Principle and Phonics & Accuracy and Fluency
Passage Reading Fluency (PRF) Alphabetic Principle and Phonics & Accuracy and Fluency
Vocabulary Vocabulary and Oral Language
CCSS Reading Comprehension
Multiple Choice Reading Comprehension (MCRC) Comprehension

The vocabulary, CCSS Reading and MCRC assessments are group administered on our secure website. These measures are untimed and take 10-15 minutes for Vocabulary and 20 to 30 minutes each for CCSS Reading and MCRC. The other measures including Letter Names, Letter Sounds, Phoneme Segmentation, Word Reading Fluency and Passage Reading Fluency are administered individually using grade-level booklets for each student and a set of display materials. Individually administered measures are delivered via the HiFi Reading app or paper/pencil and are quick and easy to score. Individual administration time varies but typically takes approximately 5-10 minutes per student. Student scores are used to determine how each student is doing in relation to national percentiles.

The measures are consistent with many of the Common Core State Standards in Reading. Combined, the measures form an assessment system of early literacy development that allows educators to readily and reliably determine student progress.

Benchmark Screening

Benchmark testing is the systematic process of screening all students on essential skills predictive of later literacy performance. Benchmark testing is one part of a comprehensive assessment system that includes universal screening, progress monitoring, summative assessments and other formal and informal assessments all designed to get the critical information needed to make informed instructional decisions. It is a foundational link between assessment, instruction and goal setting.

The easyCBM Reading assessments have been researched and validated specifically for benchmark screening and progress monitoring in kindergarten through 6th grade. We recommend screening all students three times per year with grade-level materials. Research indicates that early identification and early intervention are essential for helping students who are at risk for future difficulties, or are currently having difficulties. Screening all students, including those who met earlier goals, also provides a complete data set that is needed to determine if reading instruction is effective with all students at the school or district level. Benchmark data can help answer the following types of questions:

  • Is our reading program effective with all students at all grade levels?
  • Are there exemplar schools (or classes) in our district on which we can model successful reading instruction?
  • What are the strengths of our reading program?
  • What areas of our reading program need improvement?
  • Did we meet our literacy goals this year?
  • Which students may need additional support?
  • Is Jonny on-track for meeting reading goals?

Progress Monitoring

Progress monitoring is a key component of providing differentiated and individualized reading instruction. Student performance and development of literacy skills should be monitored frequently for all students who are at risk of reading difficulty. The data gathered during progress monitoring can be used in the instructional decision making process.

Benchmark testing with easyCBM Reading can help determine which students are at risk for later reading difficulties. Students who receive supplemental instructional support should be progress monitored. The assessment used to monitor progress should align with the instructional priorities of the supplemental reading instruction. For example, if a student’s area of weakness is identified as fluency with connected text then monitoring with Passage Reading Fluency (PRF) is the best option since PRF measures reading fluency. See our Big Ideas in Beginning Reading pages for information on targeting instruction and the relationship between assessment and instruction. Progress monitoring materials consist of alternate forms of the Benchmark assessments.

The progress monitoring probes are all approximately at the same difficulty level within each grade. For example, PRF passage 1 in grade 1 is approximately the same reading level as PRF passage 20 in grade 1. The probes should be given in order since they are arranged in a specific way to account for small differences in difficulty. Progress monitoring probes should not be used for practice or as instructional materials.

Appropriate level of materials

Typically, the level of assessment used for monitoring should match the student’s instructional level. Progress monitoring can be done with grade-level or out-of-grade-level materials. Testing with the appropriate level of materials will provide the best feedback for planning instruction.

If the student’s benchmark score is in the Strategic Level of Support then grade-level materials are most likely the appropriate level at which to progress monitor. If the student’s benchmark score is in the Intensive Level of Support, you may want to administer a measure or PRF passage from one grade-level below. You can continue administering passages and moving down grade levels until you find a level that will allow you to measure growth.

Frequency and duration

For a student identified as needing Core instruction (i.e., at benchmark/low risk), we recommend screening during the three benchmark periods. For a student identified as Strategic (below benchmark/some risk) who receives additional instructional support, we recommend progress monitoring 1 to 2 times per month on the measure(s) assessing the skill(s) targeted in the intervention. For a student identified as Intensive (well below benchmark/at risk) who begins receiving additional, intensive instructional support, we recommend progress monitoring 2 to 4 times per month on the measure(s) assessing the skill(s) targeted in the intervention.

The duration that each student is progress monitored may vary. When using the DIBELS Data System several reports help track student progress. If a student score is above the aimline but hasn't yet reached the end-of-year target goal, you may want to continue monitoring if the student is receiving additional instructional support. However, if a student's score is consistently above the aimline (e.g., three times or more), you may review whether the student needs to continue to receive additional instructional support as well as progress monitoring.