Wisconsin (WI) regulations require the use of specific types of progress measures for determining if a student is eligible for special education services as a student with a specific learning disability (SLD). This guidance document is intended to support educators using the FastBridge assessment system with students who are or may be evaluated for SLD in the state of WI.
A rigid read of the WI regulations has led some to conclude that FastBridge measures do not meet the progress monitoring requirements defined in these regulations. The guidance below explains why FastBridge recommends the use of “off-grade” progress monitoring forms and norms in specific circumstances. These recommendations are consistent with the guidance provided by the WI Department of Public Instruction (DPI) for circumstances when there is not a reliable and valid probe that meets the regulation requirements:
What if a reliable and valid probe does not exist to assess a student’s response to intervention in an area of concern?
When making SLD identification decisions, the LEA should make every effort to locate and use progress monitoring probes that meet the standards in the rule. If it is not possible to find technically adequate probes for an area of concern appropriate for the student’s grade, the most technically adequate progress monitoring tools should be used. LEAs should be prepared to support their choice of progress monitoring tools.
General Outcome Measures Compared with Mastery Measurement
In some cases FastBridge assessments provide both a general outcome measure (GOM) and mastery measure (MM) forms. When using FastBridge assessments within the context of the WI SLD rule, FastBridge recommends using the GOM version of an assessment rather than the MM, when both are available. This is because the GOM includes a broader range of the skills that are expected at one or more grade levels. The GOM is designed to identify a student’s current status relative to important benchmarks as well as track growth over time toward grade level benchmark goals. This guidance is for both screening and progress monitoring (PM).
Choosing Grade Level or Off-Grade Probes
Students should always complete screening at the enrolled grade level in order to document their current skills in relation to the grade level goals. Fastbridge also recommends students be progress monitored using grade level forms whenever possible. This is consistent with the the requirement for using grade level progress monitoring probes articulated in the Wisconsin rule
However, in some cases, a student’s skills are below what can be reliably measured on the current grade level PM form. In these cases, a student’s current status and growth toward grade level skills is best measured by monitoring growth toward mastery of prerequisite skills and then moving forward to grade level PM measures when those foundational skills are at a level that makes it feasible to use grade level forms. This circumstance is most frequently encountered when evaluating older students suspected of, or identified as having, an SLD in the area of math. Importantly, in such cases, the GOM should be selected over MM options so that the GOM score can be compared to FastBridge norms and benchmarks. In addition, typical rates of improvement (ROI) are available for the GOM forms to assist with goal setting.
Many older students who are suspected of or identified with an SLD in math will demonstrate significant deficits in their capacity to accurately and efficiently perform basic math calculations. Importantly, these students will need to develop automaticity in all four basic math operations in order to effectively apply these in higher level math contexts (National Math Advisory Panel Report, 2008). Thus, documenting progress in learning all these skills is important for evaluating the effects of math intervention support being provided.
FastBridge recommends using one of the three CBMmath Automaticity GOM levels for progress monitoring students who are not meeting the established benchmark targets for math facts represented in the grade norms available with this measure. When progress monitoring using CBMmath Automaticity, educators should choose the highest GOM level at which the student is able to score above the 15th percentile. In order to know which level is best for a student, educators can either use the single score obtained from screening, or set up progress monitoring before implementing an intervention and then have the student complete 3 CBMmath Automaticity sessions. Although research supports using one CBMmath Automaticity score as the baseline, if more baseline data are needed, pre-intervention monitoring data can supply that information. The following table displays the spring 15th percentile CBMmath Automaticity scores for levels 1, 2, and 3. Some students might require screening at more than one level to identify the appropriate progress measure.
Score at 15th Percentile
Off Grade Norms
The FastBridge CBMmath Automaticity measure is normed up through sixth grade, and GOM progress can be compared to those norms. By the end of grade 6, typical student progress and score increases on CBMmath Automaticity level off. For this reason, having norms for grades 7 through 12 is not helpful. Therefore, when working with a student who is beyond grade 6, but who hasn’t yet reached the spring grade 6 benchmark for CBMmath Automaticity, the appropriate first target for intervention and progress monitoring is to reach the grade 6 spring low-risk goal. Once a student reaches the grade 6 spring benchmark, the student demonstrates sufficient automaticity of all four math operations to support successful application within higher level math domains. At this point, different math instruction and goals should be used.