Curriculum-Based Measurement in Science Learning: Vocabulary-Matching as an Indicator of Performance and Progress


Special Education

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curriculum-based measurement, content-area assessment, middle school


The technical adequacy of curriculum-based measures in the form of short and simple vocabulary-matching probes to predict students’ performance and progress in science at the secondary level was investigated. Participants were 198 seventh-grade students from 10 science classrooms. Curriculum-based measurements (CBM) were 5-min vocabulary-matching probes administered once weekly over a period of 14 weeks. Criterion measures were knowledge pre- and posttests, the science subtest of the Iowa Test of Basic Skills (ITBS), and course grades. Alternate-form reliability coefficients ranged from r = .64 to .84. Coefficients increased over time and by combining scores across probes. Correlations between scores on the vocabulary-matching and criterion measures ranged from r = .55 to .76. The estimated mean group growth rate on the vocabulary-matching measure was .63 correct matches per week, which was significantly different from zero. The measures produced significant interindividual differences in growth rates, and growth on the measures was related to performance on the ITBS, course grades, and pre–post gains on the knowledge test. Results provide initial support for the technical adequacy of vocabulary-matching as an indicator of performance and progress in science.

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Assessment for Effective Intervention

Citation/Other Information

Espin, C. A., Busch, T. W., Lembke, E. S., Hampton, D. D., Seo, K., & Zukowski, B. A. (2016). Curriculum-based measurement in science learning: Vocabulary-matching as an indicator of performance and progress. Assessment for Effective Intervention, 38(4), 203-213. https://doi.org/10.1177/1534508413489724

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