In districts because it’s both reliable and valid.

In this lesson, you’ll learn about the various types of progress monitoring used in special education, including strategies for implementing and documenting progress monitoring.

Types of Progress Monitoring

As a special education teacher, you know that goals and objectives are an integral part of any individualized education program (IEP). But what is the best way to assess student progress toward these goals and objectives? Progress monitoring, a strategy for evaluating student growth through regular assessment checkpoints, is an excellent means of following your students’ growth. Let’s take a closer look at progress monitoring, including the types of progress monitoring, strategies for implementation, and effective ways to document progress.

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Types of Progress Monitoring

Progress monitoring includes two basic types: mastery measurement and curriculum measurement. Mastery measurement is based on a curriculum scope and sequence. In this model, teachers introduce a skill, then teach and assess it until the skill has been mastered.

Teachers and students work in sequence through the curriculum, staying with a skill until mastery is reached, and before continuing on to the next skill.Curriculum measurement does not require a curriculum sequence, as regular probes, or assessments, measure all skills in the curriculum, allowing teachers to incorporate multiple skills and tailor teaching to student needs. The curriculum measurement model is often the preferred method in many districts because it’s both reliable and valid. As a form of progress monitoring, curriculum measurement can be easily compared to all of the goals in a student’s IEP. Furthermore, curriculum measurement can drive instruction, allowing for flexibility and greater differentiation, unlike the prescriptive scope and sequence of the mastery measurement model.

Since the curriculum measurement model is the one most commonly preferred, let’s look at how a teacher might implement and document this type of progress monitoring.

Implementing Progress Monitoring

Willa is a special education teacher who works in an inclusion setting in a middle school. Willa’s students have IEP goals in math and reading, and Willa, along with her subject area co-teachers, employs curriculum-based progress monitoring.Looking at each unit, Willa and her co-teachers plan probes to cover various skills in reading and math. Because Willa’s students receive special education services, their probes must be administered twice weekly, while the general education students might complete probes less often.

After each probe, Willa and her colleagues examine the data. The results allow them to track student mastery of skills and progress toward IEP goals. The teachers then make curriculum adjustments. If interventions or accommodations result in student success, the interventions or accommodations continue.

If students are not making progress, then the interventions can be intensified. Teachers continue to give probes twice weekly and repeat this process.

Documenting Progress Monitoring

Documentation is an important component of progress monitoring for both teachers and students. Willa and her colleagues maintain shared spreadsheets that allow them to track interventions and probe results. Together they also create a graph to visually represent each student’s progress. This not only allows Willa to document that interventions or accommodations are being provided, but also serves as evidence when it’s time to determine if her students are making progress toward their IEP goals.

Additionally, Willa and her colleagues examine the charts when deciding if interventions are working, or if instruction requires adjustment. Willa also asks her students to document their progress so they can self-monitor. This allows students to make connections between instruction, probes, and personal goals.

Lesson Summary

Progress monitoring assesses student growth on IEP goals and objectives through regular checkpoints.

The two basic types of progress monitoring are mastery measurement and curriculum measurement. Mastery measurement assesses students on one skill at a time and follows a strict scope and sequence. Curriculum measurement is the preferred model and assesses students on all skills throughout a curriculum, due to its reliability, validity, and flexibility.Implementing curriculum measurement progress monitoring involves planning probes and administering them twice weekly to special education students.

Teachers examine data and adjust their curriculum based on the results, such as continuing, changing, or intensifying the interventions. Progress monitoring requires documentation, such as:

  • A shared spreadsheet of interventions and probes so that teachers can make joint instructional decisions.
  • A shared graph of student probe results so that students can gauge progress and teachers can determine the need for further interventions.
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