Potential Project Description for 2010-11


Title: Curriculum-Based Measurement Longitudinal Research with Elementary School English Language Learners
Domain Expert: Heather Campbell, Education

It is frequently difficult to assess English Language Learners’ ongoing progress in the general education curriculum and their acquisition of English language proficiency. While St. Paul utilizes annual state tests (i.e., Test of Emerging Academic English) to assess student English language proficiency, a program of formative assessment is also important to ensure that instruction can be designed to address student needs. It is vital that the assessments teachers give to their students are valid and reliable. A program of such assessment, curriculum-based measurement (CBM) is currently utilized in St. Paul mainly for screening purposes, but special education teachers have been using CBM to adjust instruction to meet the needs of their students. Could ELL teachers similarly utilize CBM to adjust instruction and monitor ELL student progress in school? The first research question for this study is: What is the validity and reliability of curriculum-based writing measures in writing as indicators of general writing performance for elementary-school English language learners? A secondary question is: Can CBM measures be used to progress monitor the English writing development for ELL students? Based on preliminary results from last year, it seems that CBM measures could be used to monitor progress in writing, but the question remains: How should teachers utilize the information gleaned from weekly progress monitoring; how can that inform writing instruction? Nearly weekly data on two different writing CBM prompts were collected on area school children to investigate whether type of prompt or scoring procedure or time allocated to the writing produces a more reliable and valid indicator of writing skill. Interest centers on the average slope of growth across the measures and whether the slope varies based on scores of more "acceptable" measures of writing ability ("standardized" assessments).

Helpful Background: Stat 316 Advanced Statistical Modeling