June 27, 2022

Q&A – Monitoring progress for high school students


Great question from Travis:

Can the ROI graphs/templates be carried over to use with high school students who we are progress monitoring with?



Yes.  Some schools continue to monitor basic skills for students in high school, including students in special education.  Be sure to use the benchmarks for the grade level of probes on which the student is being monitored.


Q&A – Using ROI for principal evaluations


Great question from Kim:

I am a principal in Illinois and am required to set student growth goals as a part of my annual evaluation. I am trying to get a clear understanding of ROI and came across your powerpoint presentations online. I am hoping you can help me understand the rational of the procedure I am being told to use.First, I calculate the growth rates for students using their BOY and EOY DIBELS scores from last year. Then I’m supposed to multiply that by 1.5 (Fuchs’ ambitious goal) to determine each student’s ROI for this year from BOY to MOY using AIMSweb (the district changed measures this year). Finally, I set an overall growth target by which I will be evaluated. For example, “75% of 3rd grade students will reach their ROI targets from BOY to MOY benchmarks.”

I am struggling with the constant, 1.5. I can see setting ambitious goals for students below benchmark, but if a student is already well above benchmark, and will obviously not receive Tier II or Tier III intervention, is it reasonable to expect their rate of improvement to increase 150%? Any advice you can provide will be GREATLY appreciated.


Andy and I had responded to this email individually, but this a great point that should be mentioned.  There are a couple of studies that illustrated that students performing at the highest and lowest levels on benchmark assessments tend to make the least amount of growth.  That doesn’t mean we can’t expect students to make gains, but we need to be aware that our highest and lowest performing students will require extra effort to improve their achievement gains over time.

Fien, H., Park, Y., Baker, S. K., Smith, J. L. M., Stoolmiller, M., & Kame’enui, E. J. (2010). An examination of the relation of nonsense word fluency initial status and gains to reading outcomes for beginning readers. School Psychology Review, 39, 631-653.

Good, R. H., Wheeler, C. E., Cummings, K. D., Baker, S. K., Fien, H., & Kame’enui, E. J. (2010, March). Rigorous RtI decisions: Normative growth rates for oral reading fluency. Paper presented at the meeting of the National Association of School Psychologists Annual Convention in Chicago, IL.

Silberglitt, B., & Hintze, J. M. (2007). How much growth can we expect? A conditional analysis of R-CBM growth rates by level of performance. Exceptional Children, 74, 71-84.


Q&A – Rate of improvement for EasyCBM


Great question from Leasha:

Please help! Our new state policy manual has listed your website as the place to go for calculating our rate of learning for the upcoming school year. Pretty much every county in the state uses Dibels so it is set up and ready to go for them. However, my county uses EasyCBM for reading. Is it possible for me to just edit the benchmark goals, and then the Excel would calculate it properly for students entered, or would I need to do some special tweaking?

My Response:

Absolutely! You can adjusts the benchmarks to whatever you need them to be and the Excel sheet should automatically adjust the calculations for ROI.  Good luck!


Q&A – Slope for standard scores


Great question from Lavonne:

My question is similar to that of Jen on July 18, 2011. I am wondering if Rate of Improvement can be graphed and slope comparisons used with standard scores such as those generated by STAR Reading. We also have standard scores on our statewide assessments and could easily generate Excel graphs to show the difference between our student’s performance and that reuqired to pass. We can easily generate our own Excel graphs, we just want to make sure the data is valid.Thank you.

P.S. Thanks so much for this site!

My response:

You can calculate slope for scores that have an equal interval between data points.  STAR Reading, STAR Math, and STAR Early Literacy is a good example of non-CBM data and has been validated as a data set for which you can calculate slope.  Joe Kovaleski and colleagues (2013) just published a book that describes using rate of improvement with computer adaptive tests (CATs), specifically with STAR assessments. I highly recommend getting a copy!

Kovaleski, J. F., VanDerHeyden, A. M., & Shapiro, E. S. (2013). The RTI approach to evaluating learning disabilities. New York, NY; Guilford Press.


PA RtI Implementer’s Forum

Gearing up to present with Andy McCrea tomorrow as part of PaTTAN’s RtI Implementer’s Forum tomorrow. As Andy and I were updating the PowerPoint this past week, we realized we’ve been speaking on this topic for 5 years now! It’s been interesting to see the evolution of awareness in our participants over time. Many more participants have access to curriculum-based measurement (CBM) data than when we first started. Even more have figured out how to graph data and generate trend lines in Microsoft Excel, some without realizing they are essentially computing linear regression statistics! We’ve presented for a range of audiences that started out as mainly school psychologists but has expanded to teams who are implementing components of RtI in their schools. Tomorrow’s workshop is formatted for just that – teams! Should be another great interactive workshop!

RtI Implementer’s Forum Link


Progress Monitoring… Life?

It’s been a while since I’ve posted anything! Let me explain. A former Tough Mudder teammate and I were eyeing up the same marathon and decided to give training a go back in December! He signed up right away, but I decided to train first and sign up if I could get through the first couple of months. Well after a dozen or so weeks of tracking my running progress, I signed up! The marathon was last Saturday and it was definitely an amazing (and painful!) sense of accomplishment. I realized how much I benefitted from seeing my own progress and will continue to apply those same principals to the students (and teachers!) with whom I work. Have you ever used data “momentum” as encouragement at school or in your own life? Do tell!