Curriculum Based Assessment for Children

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Curriculum-Based Assessment (CBA) is any form of assessment based on the curriculum that a child is mastering. Most CBAs comes directly from the textbook, in the form of tests—often in the form of chapter tests. Other CBAs can be taken from online resources. This is especially true for online worksheet resources. The following are especially helpful.

Web-Based Resources

  • The Math Work Sheet Site
    The basic worksheet generator for this site is free, although it provides a variety of useful formats in its member's section. You can choose to generate worksheets by the format (horizontal or vertical) the number of digits, whole numbers, the range of numbers use. It offers each of the basic operations, mixed problems, fractions, measurement, graphing and telling time. The worksheets have large numerals that are well spaced for the large digits made by most students in special education.
  • Edhelper.com
    Edhelper is a member only site, although access is provided to some items. The reading selections are not well adapted for children with reading disabilities: the text is often too close together for these readers, and the content is not particularly well written. My preference is always Reading A-Z, another member only site with excellent reading resources.
    Edhelper's math resources are excellent, especially for functional math skills such as money counting, fractions, and telling time. It provides several ways to show evidence of competence in each skill area.
  • Money Instructor
    Money Instructor has both paid and member-only options. Many of the free options provide realistic (color) money for counting. These are excellent resources for children who have difficulty with generalization, such as children with Autistic Spectrum Disorders.
  • Reading A-Z
    Reading A-Z is an excellent resource for special education teachers. It breaks reading levels into discrete levels from a-z for pre-primer through grade 6 readers. One of the advantages is that there is a great deal of non-fiction, which makes these lower level reading books age appropriate for older but very disabled readers. Not exactly the same as the Fountas and Pinnell levels, the website provides conversion charts which can be helpful if you are writing IEP goals with grade level goals (say, "John will read at grade level 2.4 with 94% accuracy.")
    The website provides books in the PDF format that you can download and print in multiples. Each level provides benchmark books with pre-printed running record forms with the text from the books with places to check off the sort of errors for miscue analysis. Each benchmark also comes with a comprehension question, with different levels of questions geared to Blooms Taxonomy.
  • Scholastic Bookwizard
    Finding leveled reading material for running records or miscue analysis can be a challenge. Scholastic offers a way to level the books they publish, either by grade level or guided reading level (Fountas and Pinnell.) Fountas and Pinnell also provide resources for leveling books but require a paid membership.
    Scholastic publishes some of the most popular children's titles. Knowing grade level means that a teacher can select 100 word plus passages from authentic texts to use for running records and miscue analysis.

Special Education

Some publishers offer adapted assessments for special education students, or the special educator can adapt the assessment him or herself. Some text-based assessments can be read and scribed, especially if those accommodations are part of the student's Specially Designed Instruction. Social studies tests are a good example: these are tests of a student's social studies knowledge, not reading ability.

The curriculum materials may be adapted to the student's ability or Individualized Education Plan (IEP) goals. For example, fourth-grade children are mastering long division, but children with disabilities in the same classroom may be mastering single digit divisors into two or three digit dividends. Curriculum-based assessment is just one of the ways to collect data to meet IEP goals. The above websites provide a lot of useful resources for the special educator.