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What is progress monitoring?

“Progress monitoring is a formal protocol necessary to collect valid and reliable data to chart students’ performance against expected outcomes.”
Dr. Gene Kerns, Chief Academic Officer, Renaissance

Progress monitoring requires a trustworthy system for teachers to answer critical questions such as, “Is this student in need of intervention?” Teachers depend on valid, reliable data to make confident decisions to guide instruction.

Let’s break it down

Progress monitoring is used to assess students’ academic performance, quantify their rates of improvement or progress toward goals, and determine how they are responding to instruction. You can use progress monitoring for individual students or for an entire class.

Important components of progress monitoring are:

  • Selecting evidence-based tools
  • Implementing the assessment well
  • Considering students’ language barriers and special needs
  • Recognizing students’ strengths

Progress monitoring and Response to Intervention

For specific information on Response to Intervention, check out the RTI solution page. Over the years, research has told us that assessments for screening and progress monitoring require strong evidence of reliability and validity. This key component of intervention is so important because of the shift to data-driven decision-making, especially around intervention requirements. Valid, reliable data is required to make sound decisions about which students need intervention, how they are responding, and what adjustments need to be made.

How to measure progress

Traditional methods of measuring progress include computer adaptive tests and curriculum-based measures. Many schools have added a growth metric to their progress monitoring protocol. One measure is Student Growth Percentile. It can be used one of two ways:

  1. SGP as the goal – Also considered an extension of a normative approach, you may aim for a student to grow more than expected (an SGP of 50 or higher).
  2. SGP as a reality check – You may rely on SGP for a general indication of the likelihood of success. For example, if your student is aiming to achieve proficiency on the state summative exam and that goal requires an SGP of 90, you will be able to tell that just 10 percent of similar peers would be expected to meet that goal—making it very ambitious. On the other hand, if your student’s goal results in an SGP of 19, you know that 81 percent of national academic peers would meet or exceed that growth, which is much more attainable.

Choosing an assessment? Ask the experts

The National Center on Intensive Intervention (NCII) is housed at the American Institutes for Research. They are committed to their mission of building “district and school capacity to support implementation of data-based individualization in reading, mathematics, and behavior for students with severe and persistent learning and/or behavioral needs.”

The NCII rates K12 solutions for assessment and practice. They are rated by the technical rigor of tools, including:

  • Psychometric standards
  • Progress monitoring standards
  • Data-based individualization standards

You can learn more about the ratings NCII provides in this post.

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