Association for Behavior Analysis International

The Association for Behavior Analysis International® (ABAI) is a nonprofit membership organization with the mission to contribute to the well-being of society by developing, enhancing, and supporting the growth and vitality of the science of behavior analysis through research, education, and practice.


34th Annual Convention; Chicago, IL; 2008

Event Details

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Symposium #348
CE Offered: BACB
Morningside Academy: What's New?
Monday, May 26, 2008
9:00 AM–10:20 AM
Area: EDC; Domain: Service Delivery
Chair: Joanne K. Robbins (Morningside Academy)
CE Instructor: Joanne K. Robbins, Ph.D.

Morningside Academy's assessment, curriculum, and instructional methods continue to evolve as best practices are developed in the research literature and through tryout and revision in our lab school. Today's symposium focuses upon four new developments at Morningside: retelling to enhance reading comprehension, math tool skills instruction, assessment of writing, and our overall system of assessment.

Morningside’s Four Levels of Assessment.
JULIAN GIRE (Morningside Academy), Kent Johnson (Morningside Academy)
Abstract: At Morningside Academy student progress is monitored through a multi-level system of assessment and evaluation. The initial level, or Macro level, consists of norm and/or criterion referenced tests. These tests are used to measure growth from the beginning to the end of the school year (e.g., Iowa Tests of Basic Skills). The second level, or Meta level, directly deals with progress monitoring through the use of Curriculum Based Measures/Curriculum Based Assessments (CBM/CBA). These Meta level assessments are usually administered on a weekly basis; but more or less frequent administration may be conducted depending on the academic subjects being assessed (e.g., Dynamic Indicators of Basic Early Literacy Skills or DIBELS). The third level of assessment, or Micro level, are classroom Standard Celeration Charts that document student progress as well as guide instruction and intervention. The fourth and final level of assessment consists of curriculum placement tests that accompany the curriculum programs used in the classroom. By combining these four levels of assessment Morningside Academy can accurately place students into the correct level of instruction, efficiently monitor progress and intervention effectiveness, and ensure that students make the academic gains expected by the end of the year.
Towards Genre-Specific Curriculum Based Assessment: Tracking the Acquisition of Genre Writing Skills Over the School Year.
MARIANNE DELGADO (Morningside Academy)
Abstract: Morningside is moving from the standard curriculum based measurement of three-minute CBM stories to more genre specific five-minute curriculum based assessment. The purpose of CBM is to measure how well a curriculum in place is working. With our improvements in teaching higher order writing skills in recent years, we have found that our old writing CBM was no longer tracking what the teachers were teaching. We asked the teachers of the beginning, intermediate, and advanced writing text, High Performance Writing, by Terry Dodd (SRA), to develop quick five-point rubrics on the basic requirements of the first genres we were introducing: descriptive, expository, and persuasive. The students were given a short think time and three minutes of timed writing where the pieces are scored with the traditional dimensions of total words written, words spelled correctly, and correct writing sequences. The students then have a short ten-minute period to finish these quick writes according to the rubrics. The acquisition of genre writing skills are tracked with these weekly assessments and plotted on a standard celeration chart. We will compare this method of assessment with our old non-genre specific CBM and students long–term essays that are crafted, edited and rewritten over the course of a week. We will discuss the relevance of the data and ease of implementation of this new assessment method.
The Correlation Between Reading Comprehension and Oral Retelling.
SHILOH ISBELL (Morningside Academy), Jennifer Reilly (Morningside Academy), Joanne K. Robbins (Morningside Academy)
Abstract: Morningside Academy is exploring the correlation between reading comprehension and retelling stories orally, using decontextualized language and identifying and sequencing main events. The Power of Retelling by Vicki Benson and Carrice Cummins defines decontextualized language as “language that does not depend on the context to be understood; the meaning is entirely in the text” (or words spoken). We have noticed several returning middle school-aged students with low decontextualized language skills are not showing the same rate of success in reading comprehension as returning students with average to high decontextualized language skills. We are inquiring whether adding a daily oral retelling component to their reading comprehension class, emphasizing practice using decontextualized language and identifying and sequencing main events, will aid in their acquisition and application of reading comprehension skills.
Morningside Academy’s Math Facts Program: Overview and Inquiry.
GEOFFREY H. MARTIN (Morningside Academy)
Abstract: Fluent proficiency at computing basic math facts can make learning and performing more complex operations such as those involved in regrouping, long multiplication, and division more efficient and significantly less tedious. The common approach to teaching basic facts treats each fact individually. Considering that there are 400 individual basic facts, the task of learning them can be an onerous one. Morningside Academy employs a number family approach to teach basic facts. A number family is a set of three numbers that can be arranged to produce four facts. For example, the numbers 4, 6, and 10 produce two addition facts (4 + 6 = 10 and 6 + 4 = 10) and two subtraction facts (10 – 4 = 6 and 10 – 6 = 4). Using a family approach, a student memorizes only one thing instead of four things (i.e., 1 set of three numbers instead of 4 individual facts), thereby reducing memorization by ¾. With only 36 families for each set of operations, addition/subtraction and multiplication/division, this approach significantly reduces the amount of memorizing required while also emphasizing the conceptual nature of basic facts. At Morningside, students first practice number families before practicing facts. Practice involves worksheets containing families where one number of the family is missing and must be provided by the student (e.g., 4 __ 10). Morningside recently explored the effects of two configurations of these missing number worksheets that involved the location of the biggest number of a family. On one sheet the big number always had to appear in the last position (e.g., 4, 6, 10 not 10, 4, 6), on the other sheet, it could appear in the first or last position (e.g., 10, 4, 6 was acceptable).



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