How can school personnel use data to make instructional decisions?
Page 3: Progress Monitoring
Recall that Step 2 and Step 5 of the DBI process involve progress monitoring—one of the best ways to measure a student’s response to instruction. The progress monitoring approach used most often in the DBI process is known as general outcome measurement (GOM). GOM is a type of formative assessment in which multiple related skills are measured on a regular basis to assess a student’s performance on those skills across time.
General outcome measures are:
- Easy to implement
- Quick to administer
- Designed to be administered frequently (e.g., once per week)
- Sensitive to change in student performance
The first step in progress monitoring is to identify a measure to assess the skills targeted by the intervention. The type of progress monitoring measure a teacher uses will depend on the student’s instructional level rather than his or her grade level. For example, a third-grade student reading at a third-grade instructional level might be administered a passage reading fluency measure (or probe). However, a third-grade student reading at a first-grade level might be administered a word identification fluency probe.
This graphic illustrates both the steps of data-based individualization, as well as they ways in which those steps interact. Step 1, “Validated Intervention Program,” is represented by an orange rectangle. This box connects via a vertical grey line to Step 2, “Progress Monitoring,” which is illustrated as a green oval. Both steps, in turn, are connected to a horizontal line with labeled circles at each of its ends. The circle on the left, “Nonresponsive,” has a red minus sign at its center, while the circle on the right, “Responsive,” has a red plus sign. A grey arrow connected to the “Nonresponsive” circle points toward Step 3 of the DBI process, “Diagnostic Academic Assessment/Functional Assessment,” which is represented as a green oval, similar to Step 2. The “Responsive” circle also has a grey arrow, this one pointing back up toward Step 2, “Progress Monitoring.”
Step 3 is connected via a vertical grey arrow to Step 4, “Intervention Adaptation,” represented as an orange rectangle. Another grey arrow connects Step 4 to Step 5, “Progress Monitoring,” another green oval. As above, these latter steps are connected to a horizontal line with labeled circles at each of its ends. The circle on the left, “Nonresponsive,” has a red minus sign at its center, while the circle on the right, “Responsive,” has a red plus sign. A large grey arrow connected to the “Nonresponsive” circle points back to Step 3, “Diagnostic Academic Assessment/Functional Assessment,” while the “Responsive” circle directs instructors back to Step 5, “Progress Monitoring.”
This module page focuses on Steps 2, 3, and 5, so those green ovals are highlighted whereas the rest of the graphic is slightly faded out.
For Your Information
- For students with severe and persistent learning difficulties, progress monitoring data should be collected at least once a week, and more often if feasible.
- One common type of GOM is curriculum-based measurement (CBM), a type of progress monitoring conducted on a regular basis to assess a student’s performance throughout an entire year’s curriculum.
- The National Center on Intensive Intervention offers a wealth of information about progress monitoring tools. Click on each of the links below to access some of these resources:
- Academic Progress Monitoring Tools Chart. This chart provides a variety of information about a wide range of progress monitoring measures. Some sources offer non-English language versions of the measures for linguistically diverse students and large-print versions for those with visual disabilities.
- Progress Monitoring Handouts. This document contains information about reading and mathematics probes, including administration scripts and teacher scoring sheets.
Once the teacher has identified a progress monitoring measure, he or she is ready to begin evaluating the student’s performance. The steps below describe how to do this.
- Collect baseline data: Determine each individual’s current level of performance, or baseline, for the targeted skill (e.g., reading fluency). If the student has been receiving Tier 2 instruction, the teacher can use the last three data points as a baseline. If not, the teacher can get a reliable estimate of a student’s level of performance by administering three probes within a week or so.
- Identify the goal: Determine the level of performance that the student should reach by the end of the intervention period. This goal, or benchmark, is often indicated in the information that accompanies a progress monitoring measure (e.g., word identification fluency: the benchmark is 40 words correct per minute by the end of first grade). Alternatively, the school team can determine an appropriate end-of-year goal for an individual student.
Create a graph: Use the commercially available progress monitoring graphing software that accompanies the progress monitoring measure or develop a teacher-made graph. The horizontal axis represents the number of weeks of instruction. The vertical axis represents the range of possible scores a child or student can obtain on the probe. After plotting the student’s baseline data (i.e., scores on three consecutive probes) on the graph, draw a goal line between the median of these scores and the goal.
- Administer and score probes: Administer and score the probes at regular intervals (e.g., weekly, bi-weekly). In general, they can be administered quickly (e.g., maze fluency: up to 2.5 minutes; math concepts: up to 10 minutes).
Click here to view a sample probe that has been scored and to learn how to score a passage reading fluency probe.
To score this passage, the teacher records any errors the student makes (e.g., misread words, omitted words, or added words). She calculates the number of words read correctly in one minute by subtracting the errors from the total number of words read. She uses the numbers at the end of each line in the passage to help. For example, Natalia made eleven mistakes. The last word she read was “boy.” The teacher looks at the line before the last word. There are 75 words. She then counts the number of words in the next line, 76, 77, 78, 79, 80, 81, 82, 83, 84. So Natalia read a total of 84 words. The teacher subtracts 11 from the total number of 84, which is a score of 73 words read correctly in one minute.
- Graph scores: Every time a probe is administered, record the score on the graph and draw a line to connect it to the previous data point. Alternately, allow the student to graph the data: Research shows that students who do so are more aware of their performance and view themselves as more responsible for their learning.
The graph below shows Natalia’s progress monitoring data (Step 2). Note that a vertical, dashed line separates the baseline data from the progress monitoring data. Also note that there is no line connecting the baseline data points to the progress monitoring data points.
Step 2: Progress Monitoring (Natalia’s Data)
This graph displays Natalia’s progress monitoring data over a span of eleven weeks, which here form the x-axis and which is divided by a vertical blue dotted line after Week 7. The left side of this line is labeled “Tier 2,” whereas the section after the line is labeled “Quantitative Changes.” The y-axis is labeled “Words Correct Per Minute” and is divided into twenty word increments with a gap between 0 and 40 where there is no data.
Natalia’s goal line is represented by a red line that begins at 40 words per minute and ends just below 70 words per minute. Natalia’s actual correct words per minute are represented by a blue line that indicates the following numbers: just above 40 words per minute, just above 45 words per minute, just above 45 words per minute, 50 words per minute, just above 50 words per minute, just below 50 words per minute, just above 55 words per minute, just below 60 words per minute, 60 words per minute, 55 words per minute, and 60 words per minute. At all points, Natalia progress is beneath her goal line.
Listen as Devin Kearns discusses the importance of collecting baseline data and of administering general outcome measures (time: 2:20).