What is Progress Monitoring in Special Education?

Progress monitoring is the process of assessing a student’s academic skills and behavior on a regular basis to identify areas of need and track student progress.

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Progress monitoring is a way to collect data on student performance that is ongoing, frequent, and specific to the student’s current level of functioning. It is often used in special education as a way to measure student progress and to make decisions about goals and instruction.

What is progress monitoring?

Progress monitoring is a way to gauge how well a student is doing in relation to a specific goal. Progress monitoring can be used to track the student’s mastery of skills, identify areas of weakness, and make instructional decisions.

Why is progress monitoring important in special education?

There are many reasons why progress monitoring is important in special education. First, it helps educators to track student progress and identify areas of need. Progress monitoring also allows educators to adjust instruction and interventions to better meet the needs of students. Finally, progress monitoring can help to increase communication between educators, parents, and other professionals who are working with a student with special needs.

The Different Types of Progress Monitoring

Progress monitoring is a process that is used to assess a student’s academic progress and identify areas of strengths and weaknesses. There are many different types of progress monitoring, including formal and informal assessments, curriculum-based measures, and standardized achievement tests.

Curriculum-Based Measurement (CBM)

Curriculum-Based Measurement, or CBM, is a type of progress monitoring that assesses student skills and knowledge by tracking their performance on specific academic tasks. This can be done using a variety of tools, including paper-and-pencil assessments, computer-based assessments, and one-on-one tasks with a teacher or other professional.

CBM has been shown to be an effective way to track student progress and identify areas of need. It is often used in special education settings, as it can provide valuable information to educators about how students with disabilities are responding to instruction. Additionally, CBM can be used as a tool to make decisions about accommodations and modifications for individual students.

Dynamic Indicators of Basic Early Literacy Skills (DIBELS)

Dynamic Indicators of Basic Early Literacy Skills (DIBELS) is a set of procedures and measures for assessing the acquisition of early literacy skills from kindergarten through sixth grade. It is designed to be administered frequently to monitor each child’s rate of progress and to provide teachers with information they need to make instructional decisions. DIBELS consists of seven measures, six of which are brief (one-minute) fluency measures, and one which is an oral reading comprehension measure.

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Early Literacy Skills Assessment (ELSA)

The Early Literacy Skills Assessment (ELSA) is a progress monitoring tool for teachers of grades K-2. It is designed to provide ongoing information about students’ development of early reading skills, including phonemic awareness, phonics, and word recognition. The ELSA can be used to inform instruction and to monitor student progress over time.

Functional Behavioral Assessment (FBA)

An FBA is a process that is used to identify the purpose or reason for a student’s problem behavior. It is typically conducted by a team of school personnel who are familiar with the student, and who use a variety of data sources, including:
-Interviews with the student, teachers, and other school staff
-Review of school records
-Questionnaires completed by teachers, parents/caregivers, and students

The goal of an FBA is to develop a hypothesis or explanation for the student’s problem behavior. This information can then be used to develop an effective behavior intervention plan.

Individual Growth and Development Indicators (IGDIs)

Individual Growth and Development Indicators, or IGDIs, are progress monitoring tools that measure a student’s growth in specific skills over time. They are widely used in special education to track student progress and inform instruction.

IGDIs are based on a curriculum-based measurement (CBM) approach, which involves administering brief, frequent assessments to track student progress in specific skills. CBM is considered to be a highly reliable and valid method of progress monitoring, and has been shown to be especially effective for students with disabilities.

IGDIs can be used to measure a wide range of skills, including early literacy skills, math skills, and behavior. They are often used to measure progress in the areas of reading and math, as these are the two areas where students with disabilities tend to experience the most difficulty.

IGDIs are typically administered three times per year (at the beginning, middle, and end of the school year), but they can also be administered more frequently if needed. This allows teachers to track student progress on a regular basis and make necessary adjustments to instruction.

There are many different types of IGDIs available, so it is important to choose one that is appropriate for the skill you wish to measure. Some of the most common IGDIs include the Woodcock-Johnson Tests of Cognitive Abilities, the Dynamic Indicators of Basic Early Literacy Skills (DIBELS), and the MATHESON tests.

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How to Implement Progress Monitoring in the Classroom

Progress monitoring is a way to check in on student learning to see if they are on track to meet their IEP goals. It is important to progress monitor on a regular basis so you can make changes to your instruction or accommodations if needed. There are many different ways to progress monitor, but one way is to use a data collection sheet.

Set up a data wall

One way to implement progress monitoring in the classroom is to set up a data wall. This is a wall where you can display data points for each student. This data can be in the form of numbers, percentages, or even simply checkmarks or stars. The important thing is that it is visible and easily accessible to both the students and the teachers.

Another way to use a data wall is to track goals. For each student, you can have a list of goals that they are working on. As they make progress, you can update the goal list. This helps everyone in the room see what each student is working on and how they are progressing. It also allows for easy modification of goals if necessary.

Use data-based instruction

There are three primary types of data that teachers can collect to inform their instruction: formative assessments, interim assessments, and summative assessments. Formative assessments are ongoing assessments that are used to monitor student progress and inform instruction. Interim assessments are administered at specific points throughout the year (e.g., mid-term or final exams) and can be used to identify areas of strengths and weaknesses. Summative assessments are administered at the end of a unit or course and are used to evaluate student learning.

To effectively monitor student progress, teachers need to collect data on a regular basis and use that data to adjust their instruction. This process is often referred to as data-based instruction. Data-based instruction involves using data to make decisions about what content to teach, how to teach it, and how to assess student learning.

There are a variety of data sources that teachers can use to inform their instruction, including student work samples, classroom observations, and standardized test scores. When collecting data, it is important to choose sources that will provide the most accurate information about student learning. For example, if a teacher is trying to assess student understanding of a concept, a multiple-choice test may not be the best source of data because it does not require students to demonstrate their understanding in depth. In this case, a teacher might instead choose to give a short essay test or have students complete a project.

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Once data is collected, it is important to analyze it in order to make decisions about instruction. Data analysis involves looking for patterns and trends in the data in order to identify areas of strengths and weaknesses. For example, if a teacher notices that most of his students are struggling with a particular concept, he can adjust his instruction accordingly. Data analysis can be done individually or as part of a group (e.g., with colleagues).

Once data has been collected and analyzed, the next step is to use it to inform instruction. This may involve making changes to the content being taught, the way it is being taught, or the way student learning is being assessed. For example, if a teacher notices that his students are having difficulty with a particular concept, he might decide to reteach the concept using different methods or materials. Alternatively, he might decide to change the way he assesses student learning on this concept by giving tests that focus on different skills or by having students complete projects that require them to apply their knowledge in different ways.

Collect data regularly

In order to progress monitor effectively, educators must collect data regularly on the student’s performance on specific skills. This data can come in many forms, but it is important that it is ongoing and consistent in order to accurately track the student’s progress. Data can be collected through informal observations, student work samples, quizzes, tests, and other assessments. Once data is collected, it should be analyzed to determine if the student is making sufficient progress towards their goals. If the student is not making sufficient progress, educators can use the data to make modifications to the instructional program in order to better support the student.


Progress monitoring is an important part of Special Education. It helps ensure that students are making the progress they need to in order to be successful. There are many different ways to monitor progress, and the best way will vary depending on the student and the situation. However, some common methods include data collection, teacher observation, and student self-monitoring. Progress monitoring should be done regularly, and the results should be used to make decisions about how to best support the student.

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