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Fluency Assessment

Progress Monitoring

  1. I use Reading Fluency Progress Monitor for progress monitoring. Should I use passages at the student’s grade level or at the student’s instructional level?
  2. Please explain the difference between benchmark assessment and progress monitoring.
  3. On the Correlation Summary page in the back of the Reading Fluency Progress Monitor books, what do the numbers in the Difficulty column mean?

1. I use Reading Fluency Progress Monitor for progress monitoring. Should I use passages at the student’s grade level or at the student’s instructional level?

The National Center on Student Progress Monitoring made the following recommendation about using a constant criterion for progress monitoring at a student’s instructional level throughout a year:

"Student’s progress is monitored at the instructional level that is determined during the initial assessment. The purpose of progress monitoring is to document the student’s progress throughout the year using a constant criterion: the student’s instructional level at the initial assessment. Even if a student reads with 100% accuracy as the year progresses, their reading rate usually increases. Advancing the student to more difficult text will not be an accurate gauge of progress because the criterion has been changed to a higher standard."

Based on this recommendation and Read Naturally’s field experience, please modify the "Administration Instructions" in the Reading Fluency Progress Monitor books. On page 12, in the second sentence under Task 1, please cross out the words “or slightly above,” as we think that monitoring at instructional level will produce results more sensitive to growth.

2. Please explain the difference between benchmark assessment and progress monitoring.

Educators use benchmark assessments to assess student progress toward meeting end-of-the-year benchmark or proficiency standards. At the beginning of the year (fall), screenings determine which students are at risk for reading difficulty and which students may need additional support. Mid-year (winter) and end-of-the-year (spring) benchmark assessments ensure the continued growth of all students.

Ongoing progress monitoring is essential to ensuring that all students become proficient readers. Progress monitoring is a key component in planning instruction for at-risk students as they move through the core program and the prescribed intervention(s). Educators use progress monitoring assessments to assess at-risk students more frequently on specific skills throughout the year (monthly, or biweekly)—to determine if the prescribed intervention is effective and if the student is responding as intended.

Based on progress monitoring and whether the student is achieving at an appropriate rate of progress in relation to his or her goals, one or more of the following factors may be changed or adjusted:

  • Research-based materials
  • Frequency of the intervention
  • Duration of the intervention
  • Group size
  • Designated instructor

3. On the Correlation Summary page in the back of the Reading Fluency Progress Monitor books, what do the numbers in the Difficulty column mean?

The technical information in the back of the RFPM books summarizes the results of the field tests Read Naturally conducted with the fluency assessment passages. The numbers in the Difficulty column of the Correlation Summary table show the deviation between the results for a particular passage and the benchmark results.

For example, if the difficulty for a passage is listed as 3.1, it means that the field tests showed that this passage is slightly easier than the benchmark passages in RFBA for that grade. Specifically, students averaged 3.1 words correct per minute higher on the passage compared to the benchmark passages.

Similarly, if the difficulty for a passage is listed as -4.6, it means that field testing showed that this passage is slightly harder for students than the benchmark passages. Students averaged 4.6 words correct per minute less on the passage compared to the benchmark passages.

In all cases, the correlation between the RFPM passages and the benchmark passages was .90 or higher. High correlations (.8 or higher) between the monitoring passage and the benchmark passage means that the two passages are measuring the same skill (reading fluency) with a high degree of consistency.

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