Assessment and Data-Based Decisions in Contemporary Classrooms

Shaila M. Rao


In the United States, the No Child Left Behind Act (NCLB) in 2001 and Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) in 2004 have together made it possible for students with diverse educational needs to be educated in general education classrooms. To be able to address students’ needs efficiently and effectively, teachers need to collect data on students’ current level of performance, design instruction using evidence-based strategies, implement instruction, and make data-based decisions to evaluate effectiveness of their instruction by continuously monitoring student achievement. Using four hypothetical cases, this paper illustrates use of curriculum-based measurement (CBM), a research validated approach, to assess and progress monitor students’ performance in reading and mathematics, and also illustrates with examples how the process can help teachers make required data-based decisions during the progress monitoring phase.


Data-based decisions; Curriculum-based measurement; Assessment; Progress monitoring; Teacher education; Diversity in classrooms

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