Monthly Archives: January 2015

Revisiting CBM (Curriculum Based Measures.)

When Stan Deno first suggested Curriculum Based Measures in 1985, he referred to a set of procedures that would count the number of correct answers on a worksheet that was presented to a student for a specific time period. In the case of reading from a passage, the count would be the number of correct words read. This is still the pure definition of CBM, even though there have been many refinements necessitated to meet the needs of teachers and assessors.

CyberSlate uses Deno’s original definition, adding in a record of errors as well. CyberSlate is the only computer-based application that does so.  In this blog, I compare the CyberSlate approach to other modified CBM approaches.

* CyberSlate Advantages:

1. CyberSlate measures the outcome every time, and places the data on the Standard Celeration Chart. No time is wasted recording the scores in other places.

2. This score is based on the material the student is practicing every day. No different protocols are necessary for testing.

3. The Standard Celeration Chart shows the corrects and errors (learning opportunities) clearly on the same multiply scale so that it is easy to establish trends. These can be computed as x2 per week by drawing a line through the hedgerow of dots (named an acceleration line.) If it is on the same slant as a line that is drawn from 1 on Sunday to 2 on the next Sunday, the acceleration is said to be x2 or doubling in a week.

4. Since the CyberSlate fluency is stored on the Cloud, it may be practiced at any time by the student with a parent, aide, the classroom teacher, the reading specialist, or a buddy – making it possible to have several sessions every day, including weekends.


1. The chart is not easy to read at first. It is elegant, but not simple.  It takes practice.

2. Reading Passages is just one measure of reading. While it is an indicator, its results should be compared periodically with other probes.

3. The chart does not yield a grade level equivalence. This kind of information is traditionally most reliably established through yearly, standardized testing. Schools now use DIBELs, AimsWeb, or other composite CBM-alike protocols to derive scores that can be related to grade equivalence. These testing/scoring sessions are quite comprehensive, and they have a growing body of research to support their derived scores, but they are intrusive, taking prescious time out of the remediation sessions.  In contrast, CyberSlate can show you charts of students who have used Reading Passages as their indicators of progress, and how the independent testing scored them at the end of each year. If your chart shows equal progress, your student will likely have similar scores.

Andrew's Chart of Reading Passages. He has completed 51 of 60 Reading Passages in 20 weeks, so he will likely test at a Grade 5 Sight Reading level when tested in January.

Andrew’s Chart of Reading Passages. He began on the first story in SRA Decoding B1 (Lesson 6) and completed 51 of 60 Reading Passages with a passing criterion of 150 wpm in 20 weeks. He read several times per day (indicated on the bottom (day) cycle on the chart), both at school and at home. He took over the management of his program, demanding that his teacher, aide, or mother complete this exercise with him at scheduled times, or whenever an extra session could be squeezed in. By the time he completed Story 20, Andrew was predicting that he would complete the Grade 4 book by January. When administered a Sight Reading probe in January, he tested at a Grade 5 Sight Reading level. Reading Passages was not the only exercise he practiced, but he saw it as representative of his improvement in all of the activities.

Chart Shares are an important component of your Remedial Program!

Leah is sharing her Typing Words Chart with fellow students and Coaches at a Chart Share.

Leah is sharing her Typing Words Chart with fellow students and Coaches at a Chart Share.

At Ben Bronz Academy, and during the CyberLaunchPad summer sessions, we hold regular chart shares, in which the students present a chart to the students and mediators. Using CyberSlate, they bring up their chart on the screen, and project it on the screen or whiteboard. Then they go to the front of the room and tell us about the chart.

Students learn about chart presentations following simple cue cards, and soon they are pointing out special things about their charts. Their audience have also shared their charts, so they ask about some of the features they see, or give suggestions for how each student can improve her performance.

The charts are all Standard Celeration Charts, but each chart is unique because of the student’s performance, schedule of attempts, and the work and interest she has poured into this exercise.

17-Leah-M-Typing-Words-L-Jun-14Here is Leah’s chart of her Typing Words. She knows what is involved in improving this skill, using the correct fingering and increasing her speed, even as the letter combinations become more difficult at each level.  She also knows how many skills or levels she must pass to become an Expert or Pro. Because of the instant feedback that CyberSlate provides, and her skill in reading the chart, she describes her chart in detail, and demonstrates that she is in charge of her own learning! As Hattie (2009) and others have pointed out, this is the best motivator there is in education! And if her parents or teachers attend the Chart Share, she also knows that they are interested and proud – the second most powerful motivator!

Here is the chartof Typing Words  that Leah chose to show. This is a difficult Keyboarding Fluency, and because Leah

Here is the chartof Typing Words that Leah chose to show. This is a difficult Keyboarding Fluency, and because Leah

If you enroll in CyberSlate, try to arrange to create and schedule Chart Shares! They empower your student like nothing else can! When students know how to read their own charts and those of their fellow students, they become experts on their own learning, learn how to project when they will reach future goals, and often proudly take charge!

Here are the words on the cue cards that our students use while they are learning how to present their charts. One student holds up the cue cards to prompt the student who is sharing her chart.

1. Hello. My name is _______________________

2.Chart Subject is in the center at the bottom of the chart.  This is my chart of Typing Words. (Chart Subject is in the center at the bottom of the chart)  

3. RanklevlMy Rank is (top left corner of the chart.)

4. I am on Level (look for the number at the top of the line above your last corrects.)

5.Corr_err My corrects are around (Draw an imaginary horizontal line from your highest corrects left to the scale.)


6.Errors My learning opportunities are (Look for the middle of the “x“s.)

7. I am advancing ?? levels per week, (How many levels between two Sunday Lines?)

OR It is taking me ?? weeks to pass a level.

8.TimesPerDay I complete this fluency ?? times per day. (Look at the dots in the bottom cycle of the chart.The scale .001 to .01 per minute is the same as 1 per day to 10 per day. To find the median number of dots, (a) count all of the dots (14), then count across from the bottom til you reach the 7thor eighth dot, which in this case is 1 or 2 fluencies per day. The average is 3 per day. )

9. I complete this fluency both at home and at school (You can prove this if there are both solid dots and donut dots among your corrects, as there are in the sample above.)

10. I showed this fluency because …… (or) I am proud of this fluency because…. (or) I am asking for strategies to help me pass this fluency faster.

11. Thank You. Are there any questions?