Improving Arizona English language learners' mathematics achievement using curriculum-based measures
This study was an investigation of the effectiveness of curriculum-based measures (CBMs) on the math achievement of first and second grade English Language Learners (ELL). The No Child Left Behind Act (NCLB) of 2001 led to a new educational reform, which identifies and provides services to students in need of academic support based on English language proficiency. Students are from certain demographics: minorities, low-income families, students with disabilities, and students with limited English proficiency. NCLB intended to lead as to improvement in the quality of the United States educational system.
Four classes from the community of Kayenta, Arizona in the Navajo Nation were randomly assigned to control and experimental groups, one each per grade. All four classes used the state-approved, core math curriculum, but one class in each grade was provided with weekly CBMs for an entire school year that included sample questions developed from the Arizona Department of Education performance standards. The CBMs contained at least one question from each of the five math strands: number and operations, algebra, geometry, measurement, and data and probability.
The NorthWest Evaluation Assessment (NWEA) served as the pretest and posttest for all four groups. The SAT 10 (RIT scores) math test, administered near the time of the pretest, served as the covariate in the analysis. Two analysis of covariance tests revealed no statistically significant treatment effects, subject gender effects, or interactions for either Grade 1 or Grade 2. Achievement levels were relatively constant across both genders and the two grade levels.
Despite increasing emphasis on assessment and accountability, the achievement gaps between these subpopulations and the general population of students continues to widen. It appears that other variables are responsible for the different achievement levels found among students. Researchers have found that teachers with math certification, degrees related to math, and advanced course work in math leads to improved math performance over students of teachers who lack those qualifications. The design of the current study did not permit analyses of teacher or school effects.