How can teachers determine whether students are making appropriate progress?
Page 8: Communicate Progress
As the teacher continues to evaluate student performance and make adjustments to instruction when necessary, it’s important that she communicate routinely with others about a student’s progress. Doing so is key for achieving a shared understanding of that student’s performance and instructional needs. The visual representation of the student’s performance provided by the graph can facilitate meaningful conversations with other stakeholders including the student, parents, and other professionals. Let’s briefly take a look at each of these and explain why communicating with them is so important.
Students: Students who are aware of their performance are more knowledgeable about their learning. By seeing their academic performance in an easily understood format, such as on a graph, students can appreciate the relationship between their effort and performance. This can motivate them to maintain their efforts or work harder. Teachers should emphasize students’ individual growth rather than make comparisons to peers or to end-of-year benchmarks. Emphasizing how far behind a student is can actually have a negative impact on his motivation. Using GOM graphs also helps students to set appropriate goals for themselves.
Parents: Educators can show parents their child’s graph and discuss specifically the areas in which a child is making progress and those in which more attention is required. The teacher can also explain that—in the event the student is not progressing as expected—the instruction will be changed to try to address the issue. Parents report better communication with the teacher when teachers share GOM data with them.
Other Professionals: Teachers might also find it necessary to communicate the student’s progress with other professionals. For example, the teacher can discuss the student’s progress toward meeting individualized education program (IEP) goals with the members of the IEP team.
High-leverage practices (HLPs) are fundamental or foundational practices that are critical for student learning and improved outcomes. There are high-leverage practices for both for general educators and special educators. This module aligns with the following HLPs.
HLP11: Talking about a student with parents or other caregivers. Learn more at TeachingWorks.
HLP5: Interpret and communicate assessment information with stakeholders to collaboratively design and implement educational programs. Click here to learn more about the HLPs for special educators developed by CEEDAR and the Council for Exceptional Children (CEC).
Decades of research has demonstrated the positive effects of communicating a student’s progress by using GOM data.
- Studies have shown that students enjoy seeing their progress, are more aware of their progress, and even feel more responsible for their own learning when provided with CBM information.
(Davis, Fuchs, Fuchs, & Whinnery, 1995; Pemberton, 2004)
- Parent-teacher conferences are enriched and a collaborative partnership between the family and school fostered when teachers use CBM data to communicate a child’s progress to parents.
(Curry, Mwavita, Holter, & Harris, 2016; Pemberton, 2003)
- Using CBM data facilitates the decision-making process when educators and professionals collaborate.
(Weiss & Friesen, 2014)
By using a graph, the teacher can easily give concrete descriptions of student learning, which can help inform the team as they make instructional decisions. First, Lynn Fuchs describes how teachers can communicate with others through the use of CBM graphs (time: 0:56). Next, Jessica Sellers describes how CBM graphs have helped her communicate student performance with parents and other professionals (time: 0:43).
Lynn Fuchs, PhD
Dunn Family Chair in Psychoeducational Assessment
Department of Special Education
Behavior Analyst; Former Teacher
Ms. Chee has a parent-teacher conference scheduled this week with José’s parents. She will use his CBM graph (below) to help facilitate their conversation. Using the graph, as well as the other information you have about José’s performance, describe three things Ms. Chee can tell José’s parents about his progress in reading.