Progress monitoring refers to the process of frequently gathering student achievement data, analyzing the data in a timely, repeatable manner, and making sound instructional and intervention decisions based on the data. Progress monitoring data can be used to estimate students’ rates of improvement, which allows for comparison to peers, or identify students who are not demonstrating or making adequate progress so that instructional changes can be made.

 Efficient Data Gathering Key to Progress Monitoring

To support the frequency and intensity of progress monitoring, assessments should be brief, repeatable, reliable, valid, and highly sensitive to even small changes in proficiency.

Assessments should enable the presentation of data in visual representations that are quickly and easily understood by stakeholders to facilitate agile instructional decisions. They should also use readily-available materials, feature standardized administration and scoring techniques, and be easy to implement in order to promote fidelity.

Student Progress Can Be Captured On Demand

It’s important that assessments are nimble and timely in order to ensure a learning plan keeps up with their progress. With embedded, continual assessment, student progress can be captured on demand at any point. In addition, the frequency of data collection and analysis can be customized for each student and based on each school’s specific staff and schedule limitations.

 Appropriately Leveled Data Leads to Sound Instructional Decisions

Another critical factor in progress monitoring is that data collected clearly illustrate student performance at its actual level—not at the level where the core curriculum is being taught.

That is, assessments must illustrate the student’s actual level of performance within and across academic subjects and domains within a subject—be it one or more levels below grade level, at grade level, or one or more levels above grade level.

 A Proven Progress Monitoring Tool For Mathematics

With Ascend Math, student data is gathered continuously. Teachers are empowered by numerous dashboards that reflect incremental changes to proficiency levels. In addition, the Student Progress Summary report is a handy snapshot of grade level equivalency showing where students are working in real time. It includes:

  • The growth and current Math Level Equivalency for each student
  • Data at deciles which is more accurate than math quartiles found in other programs
  • The level in which each student is currently working
  • The percentage of the level completed and number of units remaining

Students are also empowered and motivated by visual representations of their progress. Each time they log in to Ascend the first thing they see is their personal avatar climber. They continuously see progress as their avatar ascends the mountain one objective at a time. Mountain badges are earned for each level the student climbs. Students can also earn badges and rewards for time on task and objectives completed.

Another option for students to measure their progress is the student progress page, where they can view the total hours they worked the day, week and previous week, as well as time on task for the current objective and date completed.

Ascend Math promotes analyzing data in a timely, repeatable manner with tools like the Live Student Tracker.  It provides critical, real-time information for each student, informing teachers immediately if students are struggling and in need of intervention. The Live Student Tracker shows:

  • Current level, unit, and objective
  • Attempts at the current objective’s post assessment and date and time of the last post assessment attempt in order to measure day to day mastery
  • The next objective in the student’s prescriptive study plan

Ascend Math provides easy to read progress monitoring reports and real-time data, meaning the student’s progression of achievement is monitored and instructional paths are adjusted to meet evolving learning needs.

Ascend’s formative and summative assessments require no special materials or time-consuming set up and are fully automated to ensure uniform administration.  Results are presented in easy-to-understand visuals that are consistent for students, classes and schools. For instance, bar graphs and pie charts show the teacher individual and whole-class objectives completed, hours worked, current skill levels, levels of growth and levels of achievement.

Beginning with its diagnostic screener, Ascend Math identifies the grade level at which each student is actually performing. This appropriately leveled data leads to sound instructional decisions. Once the student has been assigned a level, he or she takes a pre assessment on the first unit of instruction. Ascend automatically removes learning objectives in which the student is proficient. Any non-mastered objectives indicated by the student’s pre- assessment results become the student’s individual learning plan.

Ascend Math automatically advances students through functional levels. Comprehensive reports allow administrators to gauge level advancement and determine the effectiveness of the intervention. For example, in Crisp County Middle School in Georgia 41 percent of the students using Ascend Math completed two or more levels and forty-five students out of 112 attained their grade level goal within the year. Other examples include: Emmet Belknap Intermediate School in New York where Tier 2 fifth- and sixth- graders who previously averaged  one half year grade level  growth, achieved nearly four times that using Ascend Math, and;  Jerry Junkins Elementary School in Texas, which saw K through 6th graders in the Ascend Math class achieve 47 percent mastery on the STARR test versus 26 percent in non-Ascend math classes.

Part 5 of this series will focus on Data-Based Decision Making.

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