The Importance of Progress Monitoring

Progress monitoring is an integral part of the classroom. It allows you to assess a student’s individual academic ability and provides a starting point for future instruction. There are many portions to progress monitoring. Your school may complete the minimum or complete a full-battery of assessments. Progress monitoring usually encompasses the following portions (explained in a simplified manner):

  • Fluency- This measures reading speed. Accuracy and appropriate rate are taken into account. It can begin with letter naming and move forward into full passages.
  • MAZE- Comprehension is measured during this assessment. Does the student understand what they are reading? Can they infer future sentences?
  • Computation- Computation measures the basic computational skills of students. If they struggling with a particular skill, such as division, it will be evident during this assessment.
  • Math Concepts or Applications- This assessment measures students’ problem-solving or reasoning skills. This is an important assessment since it can alert you to issues with critical thinking.
  • Written Expression- Written expression is given to determine a student’s ability to communicate their ideas and thoughts. It can indicate that a student may need remediation in word usage or other areas of writing.

These assessments allow you, the teacher, to develop plans of action for students that require that extra bit of assistance. Learning goals can be set and progress monitored using these assessments. It also provides documentation for accommodations. In many cases, conditional accommodations are only allowed in cases where data supports the need. An example: A student who is eighth grade is found to be reading fluently at a second grade level. For that student to receive a read aloud accommodation (where the computer or person reads passages, questions, and answers aloud to them during instructional and testing time), it must be documented through progress monitoring. This student may be capable of achieving their state standards at a passing level with this accommodation. It becomes a very important tool for them.

Progress monitoring also allows for grouping to take place. In the classroom, the teacher may decide to partner a student (A) that is on grade level with a student (B) that is struggling, so they both may benefit. Both students learn the value of teamwork while implementing a support system for Student B. In another example, students of similar abilities are grouped together for differentiated assignments. Without progress monitoring, groupings may be a little more difficult to configure.

How does progress monitoring work in your classroom? Does it vary between regular education and special education?


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