1. Can students use manipulatives on probes?
No. There is no need for the student to use anything other than a pencil and scratch paper.
2. Can students use a calculator for Grade 2-8 probes? We were told no due to norming.
No. Using a calculator or other aid violates the standardized administration, as well as defeats the purpose of the progress monitoring system, which is to gauge student improvement though instruction, and when indicated, intervention. The student’s ability to perform the mathematics tasks unaided in the time provided is what is being assessed and monitored. Fluent math computation skills are an underlying—and often prerequisite—component of Math Applications skill.
3. If you progress monitor on grade level, rather than where student is performing, you will not get the normative growth patterns—not a good idea. Also, AIMSweb doesn’t do this—they monitor based on students’ levels of performance.
AIMSweb® is not prescriptive regarding what grade-level material is used to progress monitor a student; however, it suggests that goal-setting be an ambitious, yet feasible, target for end of year performance (or a user-defined alternate time frame). For a student with a mild-to-moderate discrepancy between expected performance and actual performance (as determined by Survey Level Assessment), a grade-level goal may be acceptable. For a student with a significant discrepancy between actual and expected performance, initially setting a goal at a lower grade level may be both appropriate and necessary. In many cases, the goal set should not be the same as the success level of that student (as determined by Survey Level Assessment); to do so may result in continuing to measure that student’s performance on a level/passages for which he/she has consistently been successfully performing. See our Progress Monitoring Training Module and content for details.
4. Grade 2, Probe 14, Question #23—The answer key says “3”. Is “3.00” an acceptable answer being that there is a dollar sign before the blank?
In this situation the answer is considered correct, as it indicates the basic understanding of the task; however, had the answer presented been 3:00, the answer would be considered incorrect. Page 10 of the M–CAP Admin/Scoring Manual, states:
For more information, see Appendix C of the manual, which presents many examples of both correct and incorrect alternate answer formats.
5. How do we determine at what level to start a student on the AIMS probes?
For Benchmarking purposes, probes are always to be given at the student’s official grade level, regardless of the student’s skill level. This is necessary for the multitude of data analysis in AIMSweb® that may later be conducted by your site in addition to identifying students “at risk” for academic failure, such as for the purpose program evaluation.
For Strategic Monitoring, expected grade-level probes are used; that is, the grade at which you believe a student is functioning.
For Progress Monitor, either on-grade or off-grade level probes are used, with the exception of Written Expression (which is grade-level independent), depending on the goal set for the student. Students are always measured on their goal-level material at whatever grade level the goal is to be set.
6. If student’s IEP says time and a half for testing accommodations, do the students get that—normal 8 min; time and a half 12 min?
AIMSweb M–CAP was not normed with special accommodations; that is, children with IEPs who participated in standardization were given the same time-limit as students without IEPs. However, in the section of chapter 2 of the manual entitled Testing Students with Special Accommodations (p. 6) it states:
When M–CAP probes are used for frequent progress monitoring, however, the testing process is more amenable to test accommodations because the student’s scores are compared to their own scores (i.e., are individually referenced instead of norm-referenced) over time. For a student with some motor impairment, increasing test time for progress monitoring purposes (e.g., 10 minuets to 12 minutes) may be acceptable providing this increase is kept standard throughout the progress monitoring process (emphasis added). It should be noted that any comparison of these scores to normative scores and interpretation would be inappropriate.
See page 6 of the manual for additional information.
It is important to note that CBM is different than most other tests given to students, where their performance translates to a score that becomes part of the student’s grade. Like the medical profession uses a thermometer as indicator of patient health, CBM tools “take the temperature” of a student’s general abilities across a variety of domains (reading, math, spelling, etc.). Just like leaving a thermometer in longer than the required time does not give you better information, generally speaking, increasing the length of time for probe completion will not either.
CBM as a general outcome measure and indicator needs to simply be given long enough to obtain the data needed to determine if growth is occurring (as in the case of Progress Monitor). Using R–CBM as an example, extensive (decades) of research has been done to validate that three 1-minute probes for Benchmarking (using median score) is the “Sweet spot” where the measure becomes reliable/valid as an indicator/GOM, yet is not given for so long that it wastes instructional time. If progress monitoring is done with intervals anywhere from daily to every-other-week, adding extra time will only provide a multiplication of that score x number of added minutes. That does not equal “better performance.” It does not otherwise “improve” a student’s skill or enhance their ability to perform better on the measure.
7. Is there a recommendation when you give a Benchmark Probe at what level you move a student to the next level, i.e. if they have 70% accuracy would they go to the next level?
For benchmark, the probes are always given at the student’s expected grade level (i.e., “Official” grade level.) No changes are ever made to this practice as the resulting data would thus be confounded. Students who are performing well in their grade level do not need to be monitored at the next grade level.
8. What if the word answer is spelled wrong?
If the answer is correct, but misspelled, it is correct. You may refer to page 10 and Appendix C of the Manual for more information regarding scoring decisions.
9. What if the students gave another answer such as “bigger” instead of “larger” like the question asked?
Use your professional judgment when assessing the correctness of different word choices. As long as the word give logically makes sense and is conceptually correct, it would likely be considered correct. The example give above would be correct if the question asked if the required a certain type of comparative (is X smaller or larger than Y). However, had the answer given been “gigantic” or “biggest” it indicates the student may not have grasped the intent of the task. Again, refer to page 10 and Appendix C of the manual for further guidance.
10. Can we give the math probe one page at a time if we suspect the kids will shut down before they even start if they see a 3-page probe (8th grade math AIMS)?
No, doing so alters the standardized administration directions and invalidates the standardized data.
This measure is designed to not have a “ceiling,” meaning that there are more problems on the test than we anticipate even the most expedient of students to complete. Letting your students know that the test is designed to have more on it than what you expect them to complete in 8 (or 10) minutes may be helpful. This measure was field tested and piloted extensively, as well as vetted through a variety of working school professionals in the field (i.e., teachers, administrators, math specialists, etc.). Anything that was found to be significantly problematic during our field testing and piloting was addressed so that the final measures released were sound. Data indicate that a 3-4 page presentation did not pose a problem for students, nor did it impact performance.
11. For those with a reading disability, can we read math probes to students?
No, it is not appropriate to read the questions to students if you want to use the normative data. Remember, M–CAP may not be appropriate for all students. Chapter 2, page 6, of the Manual addresses issues related to special circumstances and guidance is given for progress monitoring students who may need special accommodations.
The role of reading is important in many math tests. That some students may have problems with the reading is not irrelevant, but reading ability is part of applications and problem solving and is often found on math applications problems required on many state and other summative, high-stakes tests. When a student performs poorly on the M–CAP due to reading issues, intervention that involves reading as well as math skills should be considered.