Help Center : Teacher Edition

Where is the item analysis for math?

For math, we’ve moved away from providing an item level of detail on all of the easy CBM systems because it was actually giving teachers a false impression of reliable specificity. You can still find that information if you need it by going to the technical reports (you can find links to them at: http://www.brtprojects.org/publications/technical-reports), but we actually recommend the teachers not try to look at the very specific standards to which the questions are written but instead look at the general domain, as the specific standards will be less reliable/have more standard error of measure because there is only one item whereas the more general domain will have multiple items aligned to it, and will therefore provide more reliable information.

Integrity is very important to us. We want to be sure that any information we report from the easyCBM assessments is supported by a strong empirical foundation. Early on, we had intended to provide information about the content standard for each math item as part of the Item-Level Reports available on the system. Through repeated analyses of the data, however, we reached the conclusion that providing this information was actually doing a dis-service to teachers, because it was giving them a false impression of student skill / lack of skill, with the potential for misinterpretation and, thus, misguided instructional decisions.

Although the items on the easyCBM math assessments are all written to align with specific content standards, when we examine their functioning in relation to each other and to overall math performance, it becomes clear that they are most reliable when used as indicators of general math knowledge and skill rather than specific knowledge linked to particular content standards. For them to give a reliable indication of student skill/lack of skill on a particular content standard, we would need to increase the number of items measuring each individual standard, with a subsequent increase in test length, and this defeats one of the key goals of progress monitoring — that of having frequent short measures of progress over time toward the whole year’s worth of general math knowledge/skill.

Thus, we updated the reports to provide the more general domains measured by the math items to reduce the likelihood that teachers would focus inappropriately on specific content standards rather than focusing on the more general math construct.

Last Updated: December 3rd, 2015
Filed under: FAQ