Because intervention is given to students at their current instructional level and not at their current grade level, determining the assessment level for a CBM is important. In other words, if you have a student that is working far below grade level it is more beneficial to monitor progress by selecting a CBM more closely aligned to their instructional level. CBM probes should be given at the student's baseline learning level established by their vertically scaled score on the screener and other student data previously collected.
If the student has taken a Classworks assessment (Universal Screener or Summative Benchmark), the student's CBM level is recommended based on their results. The teacher can easily edit this before the student begins Progress Monitoring based on what they know about the student.
If the student has grade-level equivalency from an outside assessment (NWEA Map Skills, Renaissance Star, etc...) the teacher can select the appropriate level when starting the CBM for a student.
If the student has no current assessment data for the student, it is recommended that CBM levels start 2 levels below a student's grade level if they're Tier 2 and 3 levels below a student's grade level if they're Tier 3.