Saturday, January 5, 2019

Progress Monitoring Made Easy!!!

Progress monitoring is essential to monitor our students' progress and to evaluate the effectiveness of our instruction. But where do we begin??

Assessment is on going!
"Know where your students are at by conducting basic skills assessments."

Always begin the new year with assessing your students to see where they're at and let this drive your grouping, instruction, IEP goals, and progress monitoring. As new students come in throughout the year, assess them as soon as possible. Make yourself an assessment teacher 
binder so that you'll have all of your assessment tools in one place. Use sheet protectors as pockets to hold screeners/probes in which you have multiple copies.

"Which students should I progress monitor?"

Assessment and progress monitoring should be ongoing for ALL of our students, but may be on a different frequency! For instance, you may have a student that is only in your class for behaviors, but is working at grade level. For this student, you will be progress monitoring his/her behavior, but you will likely progress monitor their academic skills less often. 

"How do I know what to progress monitor my students on?"

Your assessments will drive your IEP goals and your IEP goals will drive your progress monitoring. Don't overwhelm yourself and feel that you have to progress monitor every thing they are working on. Use your assessment data to narrow down their skill deficits and then pick 1-2 skills you will explicitly teach and progress monitor. Remember, weekly spelling tests, reading tests, math tests, etc. you give in your classroom also serve as excellent formative and summative assessments that can be used to guide your instruction as well and serve as good progress monitoring evidence. Informal observations and work samples can also be used as formative and summative data too.

"How often should I progress monitor these students?"

Research shows that our Tier 3 (special education) students should be progress monitored on a weekly basis. However, I don't feel that my students show many gains in a one week span, and therefore I choose to progress monitor my students every two weeks. 

"When do you find the time to progress monitor students?"

I progress monitor every Friday. Because I run centers in my classroom...I cancel "Teacher Table" Center every Friday in my classroom and I call students to my table to assess them. When students are not being assessed they get to go on an iPad, computer, color, read, play with the toys, etc. It works like a charm and who doesn't love "Fun Fridays!" It only takes me a few minutes to progress monitor each student. So with 14 students, I will progress monitor 7 of them on one Friday and then the other 7 will be progress monitored the following Friday, allowing me to progress monitor all of my students every other week.

"What if this doesn't work for me?"

I also leave the last 25 - 30 minutes of our school day open for social time. This is also another opportunity for me to call students back for progress monitoring if I need to. 

You could also progress monitor one student per day and get through 10 students every two weeks and start your cycle all over.

If you have parent volunteers, this is also a great opportunity to have them do an activity with your students at "Teacher Table" Center while you progress monitor students.

If you have a designated computer lab time, this is a wonderful time to pull your students for progress monitoring or even for small group instruction. 

"What does progress monitoring look like in my classroom?"


My assessments and IEP goals will drive my instruction and progress monitoring. To make it manageable, I only write one IEP goal for each deficit area. I typically choose 2 skills to progress monitor each student on at a time and I focus on their weakest areas. I balance it out by choosing one skill from Math, one from ELA, or one Life Skill or Social/Emotional/Behavorial Skill if applicable. For example, if I have a student that is struggling in reading with sight words and in math with missing numbers, this will be my focus point of instruction for this student and the two skills I will monitor for progress.

"When do you find time to explicitly teach these skills?"

Opportunities for teaching these skills can be built in all throughout the day during morning work, whole group, and differentiated centers. So the student I mentioned above that is struggling with missing numbers, may have a missing number practice activity for his morning work, during whole group meeting/calendar we will review missing numbers and I will call on him explicitly to answer missing numbers questions, (while calling on a student focusing on most/least those explicit questions) and he will get to work on missing numbers in each center he goes to. 

I also pull students that need that additional support and 1:1 or small group instruction when we go to the computer lab or when I'm done progress monitoring my students on Fridays. Any time I feel a student needs additional support with a skill/goal, I can assign my other students an independent activity to allow me the time to work with that student. 

"What assessments and progress monitoring tools do I have in my teacher binder?"

I have made most of my assessments and progress monitoring tools to meet my needs as a special education teacher and for what I needed at the time. Here is a compilation of those that you can download here. I also recommend making a student binder in addition to your teacher assessment binder. 

In your teacher assessment binder, keep all of your assessments, recording sheets, probes, etc. in sheet protectors so they're ready to go as needed. In your student assessment binder, make a tab/pocket for each student and store their administered assessments, work samples, progress monitoring charts/graphs, etc. within each student's tab. 

You can see a peek of what my student assessment binder looks like in this post. Click here

This post may be of interest to you too! Click here.

If you have any other specific questions about progress monitoring, please drop them below. :)

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