Basic Math vs. Proficient Math Tests

The key thing to know is that the Proficient Math measures are designed, intentionally, to be more challenging, while the Basic Math measures are designed, intentionally, to be much more accessible, with simplified wording and presentation and simpler concepts (for students truly struggling). ​​​​

The easyCBM math tests are all standards-based rather than computational/application based. They were all created to address widely-adopted content state and national content standards. The easyCBM Lite accounts only have Basic Math tests whereas the easyCBM Teacher Deluxe accounts have both Basic and Proficient Math assessments. The test forms are optimized for computer-delivery but can also be given paper/pencil by printing the PDFs of each measure and then hand-entering students' responses into the computer for scoring.

The Basic Math tests are aligned closely with the National Council of Teachers of Mathematics Focal Point Standards. They are written to be more easily accessible (fewer cognitive demands for processing what is being asked) and to assess a more foundational understanding of math. Thus, they are most appropriate for use with students who are really struggling and are performing below their grade level peers in the area of math.

The Basic Math measures were the first we developed. They were intended to be appropriate for students performing far below grade-level expectations and to be "easy access" (limited vocabulary, simple questions, etc.). They were called "Math" initially because they were the only math measures we had and later "NCTM Math" because they were written to align with the standards from the National Council of Teachers of Mathematics (NCTM), and once we added the CCSS-aligned math measures, we wanted to differentiate between those written using the NCTM standards as the starting point and those written using the CCSS standards as a starting point.

Because the NCTM-based "Basic Math" measures were intended for use with very low performing students, we offer very short (16 item) progress monitoring forms that assess a small segment "domain" / of the content covered during a given academic year. We also offer longer Benchmark forms that include items from across all three of the NCTM focal point standards at a given grade level.The CCSS Math measures "Proficient Math" are -- by design, more challenging. All Proficient Math ("CCSS Math) measures (both BM and PM) include items from across the full range of content standards designated for a given grade level. The BM measures also include some prior and subsequent grade-level items to increase their reliability when used as benchmark universal screening assessments.

For the Basic Math measures, there are 10 alternate forms of progress monitoring assessments for each of three main math standards per grade (based on the NCTM Focal Point Standards). These progress monitoring measures are short (16 item) tests most appropriate for students who are performing far below grade-level expectations in math.

The Proficient Math tests are aligned to a variety of State and National (CCSS) mathematics standards. They are designed to be more challenging for students, assessing a higher level of mathematics knowledge. The Proficient Math tests may actually be a bit too challenging for students who are performing far below grade level expectations. In these situations, teachers may find it useful to use the Basic Math measures until students make sufficient progress to perform at or above the 40th percentile before switching to the Proficient Math measures for regular progress monitoring.

For the Proficient Math measures, there are 10 alternate forms, per grade, to be used for progress monitoring. These progress monitoring forms are longer than the Basic Math forms (more like 30-40 items per test form, with upper grades having more items and lower grades having fewer items) and the items are drawn from across the full range of content standards assigned to a given grade level.

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