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Graph Out Loud: Pre-Service Teachers' Data Decisions and Interpretations of CBM Progress Graphs.

Data-based instruction (DBI) is a process in which teachers use progress data to make ongoing instructional decisions for students with learning disabilities. Curriculum-based measurement (CBM) is a common form of progress monitoring, and CBM data are placed on a graph to guide decision-making. Despite the central role that graph interpretation plays in the successful implementation of DBI, relatively little attention has been devoted to investigating this skill among special education teachers. In the present study, we examined the data decisions of 32 pre-service special education teachers (29 females and 3 males). Participants viewed data presented sequentially on CBM progress graphs and used a think-aloud procedure to explain their reasoning each time they indicated they would make instructional changes. We also asked participants to make the same type of decisions in response to static CBM progress graphs depicting 10 weeks of data. Overall, there was inconsistency in pre-service teachers' responses related to when or why they would make an instructional change. Decisions were often influenced by graph-related features, such as variability in the data. Furthermore, responses suggested misunderstandings that led to premature instructional change decisions and reliance on individual data points.

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