For students with learning disabilities, traditional assessment strategies such as formalized, periodic testing may not provide an accurate reflection of student progress and mastery of skills. Curriculum-based assessment, also called Curriculum-Based Measurement or Progress Monitoring Assessment, in which specific benchmarks of progress are defined and assessed on a regular, ongoing basis in the classroom, provides a better way to evaluate the progress of learning disabled students.

Traditional Testing Assessments

Standardized testing on a fixed schedule has been the traditional model for measuring student progress and mastery of class material. This approach leads teachers to teach to the test, ensuring that students have the knowledge needed to meet established norms for progress. For students with learning disabilities, this approach may not yield an accurate assessment of skills and mastery of concepts. Due to the lag time between testing and the tabulation and release of scores, feedback can be delayed, so these students may not get needed assistance in time.

Curriculum-Based Assessment

Unlike traditional test-based assessment models, Curriculum-based assessment offers ongoing monitoring of students’ progress in the classroom with context-based assessment strategies, which allow teachers to track performance according to individualized benchmarks. Curriculum-based assessment measures students’ progress within the context of the classroom and individually determined goals, rather than at scheduled times under artificial circumstances.

Curriculum-Based Assessment and Support Services

Because curriculum-based assessments are student centered, focusing on each individual’s learning deficits and skills, teachers can identify obstacles quickly and refer students for support services such as tutoring and special education assessment, rather than waiting for test scores. For learning disabled students, curriculum-based assessment allows for early intervention and improved outcomes.

Curriculum-Based Assessment and Classroom Management

Curriculum-based assessment allows for student participation in setting goals, identifying areas for improvement and graphing progress. Together, student and teacher establish objectives and ways to monitor and assess them, creating a sense of empowerment that supports student success and self-esteem.