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Monitoring the Progress of Individual Students

Instructor: Sharon Linde
In order to plan instruction for students, teachers must first have a solid idea of student skill level. This lesson explains methods for monitoring and recording the progress of individual students and shows how it is applied in a classroom.

Why Monitor Progress?

Teachers today know the importance of planning instruction. They likely follow guidelines set by districts or individual schools. Within those guidelines are curriculum standards. These instructional guidelines assist teachers in knowing when and how to teach a skill. For instance, teaching two digit addition in second grade or covering earth science concepts in fifth. Within this scope and sequence of overarching content, however, are individual students with unique skills and needs. These strengths and struggles are necessary for teachers to understand so they can plan instruction geared for each student's success.

Progress Monitoring Basics

Ms. Patten is a teacher who understands progress monitoring, or methods of collecting and applying data about student skills to plan instruction. Over the years, Ms. Patten has learned the ropes of progress monitoring and uses techniques that allow her to closely watch each student's growth, or lack of. From this information, she plans instruction that allows individual students to get the material and practice they need. Let's see how this is done.

Ms. Patten starts monitoring her students on the first day of school. Why? As she learns names and personalities, she also gets to know her students as learners. She begins collecting data, information she can use to plan instruction, in two ways - formally and informally.

Formal assessments are those that give specific data points, like test scores or an IQ, that teachers use for a few reasons. They may apply this information as a baseline to compare later scores. They can also look closely at the information gathered from the assessment and plan overarching goals and objectives for each student. For example, David's formal reading test gathered information about his ability to decode and comprehend. Ms. Patten now knows that David has strong decoding skills but is struggling with understanding the main idea in stories. His vocabulary usage score was also low. She can use this information to put David in a group of students working on the same skills, allowing him to learn the necessary strategies to find success.

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