Progress monitoring is a scientifically based practice used to assess your child’s academic progress and evaluate the effectiveness of instruction. Progress monitoring basically tells the teacher what your child has learned and what still needs to be taught.
You might be asking yourself “aren’t they taking tests all the time?”. It may appear so but in actuality most of the school day is geared toward actual learning. Standardized tests are not good measures for progress toward annual goals because standardized tests compare your child’s performance with other children’s or with state standards. Additionally, many standardized tests are performed at the end of the school year to comply with state standards that monitor what a child is expected to learn by the end of the year.
How Does Progress Monitoring Work?
Progress monitoring essentially divides what your child is expected to learn by the end of the year into shorter, measurable steps. The expectations of what is to be learned is based off of your child’s specific IEP goals that are able to be measured and tracked.
In order to monitor progress for your individual child, short (1-5 minutes) assessments are necessary to gather information based on your child’s specific needs. Progress monitoring can give you and your child’s teacher information that can help your child learn more and learn faster, and help your child’s teachers teach more effectively and make better decisions about the type of instruction that will work best with your child.
For example, if your child is meeting or exceeding the expectation, the teacher will most likely continue to teach your child in the same way. If your child’s performance on the measurement does not meet the expectation, then the teacher will likely change the teaching. The teacher could change the teaching method being used, the amount of instructional time, the grouping size. In this process, the teacher is looking for the type and amount of instruction that will enable your child to make enough progress toward meeting the goal.
It is common for a teacher to create progress graphs that show the child’s progress toward the IEP goals. You may receive copies of these progress graphs every few weeks or oftentimes quarterly with the report card. If you do not, write a short letter to request your child’s progress graphs. Remember, The No Child Left Behind Act requires schools, school districts and states to measure their progress objectively and report their progress every year.
Best of luck!