Scoring Methods for Progress Monitoring Using CBM in Early Writing


  • Abigail A. Allen PhD CCC-SLP Clemson University
  • Kyle Wagner NCSP PhD Findley University
  • R. Alex Smith PhD University of Nevada, Las Vegas
  • Kristina N. Randall PhD Clemson University



curriculum-based measurement, early writing, assessment, trait-based rubric


This initial exploratory study assessed the evidence of reliability, criterion validity, and growth of scores obtained from total correct word sequences (CWS), correct word sequences per response (CWSR), and a trait-based rubric used with a curriculum-based measure of writing (CBM-W) for progress monitoring. Participants were 26 writers with or at risk for a learning disability (LD) in grades 2-3. Participants were given the CBM-W task twice weekly over 6 weeks and were given the Spelling and Writing Samples subtests of the Woodcock-Johnson Tests of Achievement-III at pre- and posttest. Results indicated large inter-rater reliability coefficients but mixed alternate form reliability and validity evidence. CWS was the only metric to demonstrate significant growth (r = .60). CWS has the strongest evidence for use as a progress monitoring scoring metric for students at risk for LD, although information from CWSR and rubric scores could be instructionally useful.

Author Biographies

Abigail A. Allen PhD CCC-SLP, Clemson University

Abigail A. Allen PhD CCC-SLP is an associate professor of Special Education at Clemson University.

Kyle Wagner NCSP PhD, Findley University

is an assistant professor of Education at Findley University.

R. Alex Smith PhD, University of Nevada, Las Vegas

is an assistant professor of Special Education at University of Nevada Las Vegas.

Kristina N. Randall PhD, Clemson University

is a clinical assistant professor of Special Education at Clemson University.



Allen, A. A., & Lembke, E. S. (2022). The effect of a morphological awareness intervention on

early writing outcomes. Learning Disability Quarterly, 45(2), 72-84.

Allen, A. A., Poch, A. L., Lembke, E. S. (2018). An exploration of alternative scoring indices

using curriculum-based measurement in early writing. Learning Disability Quarterly, 41(2), 85-99.

Coker, D. L., & Ritchey, K. D. (2010). Curriculum-based measurement of writing in

kindergarten and first grade: An investigation of production and qualitative scores. Exceptional Children, 76(2), 175–193.

Deno, S. L. (2003). Developments in curriculum-based measurement. The Journal of Special

Education, 37(3), 184-192.

Deno, S., Marston, D., & Mirkin, P. (1982). Valid measurement procedures for

continuous evaluation of written expression. Exceptional Children, 48(4), 368–371.

Gansle, K. A., VanDerHeyden, A. M., Noell, G. H., Resetar, J. L., & Williams, K. L.

(2006). The technical adequacy of curriculum-based and rating-based measures of written expression for elementary school students. School Psychology Review, 35(3), 435–450.

Graham, S., Harris, K. R., & McKeown, D. (2013). The writing of students with learning disabilities, meta-analysis of self-regulated strategy development writing intervention studies, and future directions: Redux. In L. Swanson, K. R. Harris, & S. Graham (Eds.), Handbook of learning disabilities (pp. 405–438). Guilford Press.

Graham, S., Harris, K., and Hebert, M.A. (2011). Informing writing: The benefits of formative assessment. A Carnegie Corporation Time to Act Report. Alliance for Excellent Education.

Hampton, D. D., & Lembke, E. S. (2016). Examining the technical adequacy of progress

monitoring using early writing curriculum-based measures. Reading & Writing Quarterly, 32(4), 336-352.

Hier, B. O., January, S. A. A., & Van Norman, E. R. (2020). A comparison of CBM-WE scoring

metrics and progress monitoring frequency among second-grade students. School Psychology Review, 49(3), 306-320.

January, S. A. A., Van Norman, E. R., Christ, T. J., Ardoin, S. P., Eckert, T. L., & White, M. J.

(2019). Evaluation of schedule frequency and density when monitoring progress with curriculum-based measurement. School Psychology, 34(1), 119.

Jung, P. G., McMaster, K. L., & delMas, R. C. (2017). Effects of early writing intervention

delivered within a data-based instruction framework. Exceptional Children, 83(3), 281-297.

Lembke, E., Deno, S. L., & Hall, K. (2003). Identifying an indicator of growth in early writing

proficiency for elementary school students. Assessment for Effective Intervention, 28(3–4), 23–35.

Marston, D. B. (1989). A curriculum-based measurement approach to assessing academic

performance: What it is and why do it. In M. R. Shinn (Ed.), Curriculum-based measurement: Assessing special children (pp. 18–78). Guilford Press.

McMaster, K. L., Ritchey, K. D., & Lembke, E. (2011a). Curriculum-based measurement for

beginning writers: Recent developments and future directions. In T. E. Scrugg, & M. A. Mastropieri (Eds.), Advances in learning and behavioral disabilities: Assessment and intervention (Vol. 24, pp. 111-148). Emerald.

McMaster, K. L., Du, X., Yeo, S., Deno, S. L., Parker, D., & Ellis, T. (2011b).

Curriculum-based measures of beginning writing: Technical features of the slope. Exceptional Children, 77, 185–206.

Parker, D. C., McMaster, K. L., Medhanie, A., & Silberglitt, B. (2011). Modeling early

writing growth with curriculum-based measures. School Psychology Quarterly, 26(4), 290–304.

Romig, J. E., Therrien, W. J., & Lloyd, J. W. (2017). Meta-analysis of criterion validity for

curriculum-based measurement in written language. The Journal of Special Education, 51(2), 72-82.

Schrank, F. A., McGrew, K. S., & Woodcock, R. W. (2001). Technical abstract

(Woodcock-Johnson III Assessment Service Bulletin No. 2). Riverside Publishing.

Smith, R. A., & Lembke, E. S. (2021). Aspects of technical adequacy of an early-writing

measure for English language learners in grades 1 to 3. Assessment for Effective Intervention, 47(1), 59-63.

Stecker, P. M., Fuchs, L. S., & Fuchs, D. (2005). Using curriculum‐based measurement to

improve student achievement: Review of research. Psychology in the Schools, 42(8), 795-819.

Videen, J., Deno, S., & Marston, D. (1982). Correct word sequences: A valid indicator of

proficiency in written expression. (No. IRLDRR-84). University of Minnesota, Institute for Research on Learning Disabilities.

Wagner, K., Smith, A., Allen, A., McMaster, K., Poch, A., & Lembke, E. (2019). Exploration of

new complexity metrics for curriculum-based measures of writing. Assessment for Effective Intervention, 44(4), 256-266.

Woodcock, R. W., McGrew, F. A., Mather, N. & Schrank, F. A. (2007). Woodcock-

Johnson tests of achievement (3rd ed.). Riverside Publishing.