Common Questions for Progress Monitoring
What is progress monitoring?
Progress monitoring is a scientifically based practice that is used to assess students’ academic performance and evaluate the effectiveness of instruction. Progress monitoring can be implemented with individual students or an entire class.
To implement progress monitoring, the student’s current levels of performance are determined and goals are identified for learning that will take place over time. The student’s academic performance is measured on a regular basis (weekly or monthly). Progress toward meeting the student’s goals is measured by comparing expected and actual rates of learning. Based on these measurements, teaching is adjusted as needed. Thus, the student’s progression of achievement is monitored and instructional techniques are adjusted to meet the individual students learning needs.
When progress monitoring is implemented correctly, the benefits are great for everyone involved. Some benefits include:
- accelerated learning because students are receiving more appropriate instruction;
- more informed instructional decisions;
- documentation of student progress for accountability purposes;
- more efficient communication with families and other professionals about students’ progress;
- higher expectations for students by teachers; and
- fewer Special Education referrals.
Overall, the use of progress monitoring results in more efficient and appropriately targeted instructional techniques and goals, which together, move all students to faster attainment of important state standards of achievement.
Anyone who is interested in improving results for children should be implementing progress monitoring. Whether you are a regular educator, special educator, related service provider, administrator, or family member, you should be interested in implementing research-based progress monitoring practices.
- Educators and families need information about the effectiveness of progress monitoring that would encourage them to adopt the practice.
- Teachers and other practitioners need support in translating progress monitoring research into easily implemented, usable strategies.
- Technical assistance on progress monitoring must transfer knowledge in ways that accommodate differences in background, training, and beliefs, as well as differences in the nature and philosophy of the instructional programs and practices already in place.
- This information dissemination must take place in a variety of formats, in usable forms, and at different levels of specificity.
Progress monitoring is a relatively new term. Some other terms you may be more familiar with are Curriculum-Based Measurement and Curriculum-Based Assessment. Whatever method you decide to use, it is most important that you ensure it is a scientifically based practice that is supported by significant research.
This document was developed through Cooperative Agreement (#H326W0003) between the American Institutes for Research and the U.S. Department of Education, Office of Special Education Programs. The contents of this document do not necessarily reflect the views or policies of the Department of Education, nor does mention of trade names, commercial products, or organizations imply endorsement by the U.S. Government. This publication is copyright free. Readers are encouraged to copy and share it, but please credit the National Center on Student Progress Monitoring.