Definition: The level or amount of learning needed to result in a measurable change in the assessment outcome. Assessments that are more sensitive to change are able to measure smaller increments of learning.
Why it matters: Sensitive assessments allow you to measure learning and rates of learning in order to make data based instructional decisions before the student fails. Highly sensitive instruments can provide both students and teachers positive feedback when a student is successful before other instruments.
Example of use: A teacher uses CBM-R to create a baseline and track rate of learning for a student that is struggling to read. Using CBM-R, the teacher is able to verify that the student is learning at a slower rate than his peers and decide to use mini-lessons to build vocabulary. The teacher is able to verify whether the student is improving their rate of learning or not before any summative assessments are done.
Fuchs, L. S., & Fuchs, D. (1999). Monitoring student progress toward the development of reading competence: A review of three forms of classroom-based assessment. School Psychology Review, 28(4), 659-671.
Fuchs, L. S., Fuchs, D., & Courey, S. J. (2005). Curriculum-based measurement of mathematics competence: From computation to concepts and applications to real-life problem solving. Assessment for Effective Intervention, 30(2), 33-46. doi:10.1177/073724770503000204