How will Ms. Begay know if her current reading intervention is working or if her students need a different kind of instruction?

Page 5: Graphing (Step 3)

Teacher looking at student graphs on a boardOnce the CBM data for the first probe have been collected, it is time to begin graphing student scores. Graphing the scores of every CBM probe on an individual student graph is a vital part of the CBM process. These graphs give teachers a straightforward way to:

  • Review a student’s progress
  • Monitor the appropriateness of the student’s goals
  • Compare and contrast successful and unsuccessful aspects of each student’s instructional program
  • Communicate with parents, students, and other professionals

CBM graphs help teachers to make decisions about the short- and long-term progress of each student. It is not uncommon for teachers to underestimate or overestimate what a student can achieve academically. Graphing students’ CBM data helps teachers to set ambitious but realistic goals. Also, CBM graphs help teachers to revise and improve a student’s instructional program by providing them with essential data.

Creating Graphs

Teachers can obtain CBM graphs in two ways. The first is for teachers and schools to purchase CBM graphing software that graphs student data and helps interpret the data for teachers. The second option is for teachers to create their own student graphs using graph paper. To do this, teachers should create a master CBM graph that can be copied and used for all students. On the master graph:

  • The vertical axis represents the range of possible scores a student can obtain on the CBM probe. The chart below lists the range of possible scores for each type of master graph. Note that the range of scores varies for each type of measure.
    Range of Scores for Labeling Vertical Axes on CBM Graphs
    CBM Task Vertical Axis
    Letter Sound Fluency 0-100
    Word Identification Fluency 0-100
    Passage Reading Fluency 0-200
    Maze Fluency 0-60
  • The horizontal axis represents the number of weeks of instruction.

Every time a CBM probe is administered, it is scored and the score is recorded on a CBM graph. A line can be drawn to connect each data point. For example, the CBM graph below shows one student’s data points connected with a line, and in this way a student’s progress can be easily viewed over time.

CBM Graph showing the vertical and horizontal axis

This is a sample CBM graph. The horizontal axis is labeled with the number of instructional weeks, specifically “Instructional Weeks,” from 2 to 15 weeks, in one-week increments. The vertical axis is labeled with the range of student scores, specifically “Correctly Identified Words Per Minute,” from 0 to 100 in 10-word increments. The graph data is plotted with points. The overall graph shows that the student has steadily improved in correctly identifying more words per minute as the instructional weeks have progressed.

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