Progress Monitoring

The end of the first six weeks is upon us, which means it’s time to start thinking about progress monitoring. Well, to be more exact, it’s time to start thinking about progress reports because you should have already done some progress monitoring this year.

If you’re a General Ed teacher, don’t stop reading! This information affects you too.

IDEA requires that we send parents progress reports for IEP goals on the same schedule as report cards. Since we are starting a new year of progress reporting, I thought I would send a few reminders.

1. Progress must be based on data. I know this sounds like a no-brainer, but you would be surprised how many progress reports go out with a “P or making progress” with no ACTUAL data reported. (and adding an obscure percentage does not count as data)

If the IEP says, little Suzy will demonstrate mastery by doing the task correctly 3 out of 5 times, then there better be documentation that you had her try the task 5 times and reported how she did. This is easy if you teach the student, but what if that IEP is implemented in gen ed? How can we ensure we collect accurate data? 

First-write your IEPs so that progress is collected the same as it is for other students in that class. Meaning, if Suzy is in a general ed math class, I wouldn’t write that she would demonstrate the skill 3 out of 5 times. Instead, I might consider demonstrating mastery by making a 70 or above on 4 out of the 6 six-week tests. EVERYONE is already doing the six weeks test, so I know that data will be available. Think about this as you write IEPs this year. 

Second, reach out to the general ed teachers who are implementing IEPs and make sure they understand. (I know we give those out at the beginning of the year, but let’s be honest, IEPs are hard to read. I don’t always understand what they are asking, and I’ve been doing this a while.) Shoot them an email letting them know who in their class has an IEP and what you will need every six weeks to progress monitor the IEPs. Check to see if they need help understanding what the sped students need. Then, if you have problems getting the required data, talk to your campus administrator.

2. Make sure you are reporting in the correct reporting period. This applies if your IEPs run annual ARD to annual ARD.

For example, if I had an annual ARD last spring, and you reported progress for the 5th and 6th six weeks, then the 1st six weeks of 2021 is the 3rd progress report for that IEP.   In contrast, if I had an annual ARD last year, and the goals you wrote didn’t start until the 21-22 school year. Then this would be the first progress report for that IEP. 

Why is this important? Let’s say the IEP says the student will read 90 wpm by the end of the IEP period, and the student’s current data shows they are reading 45 wpm. If this is the 1st progress report for that IEP, then that’s not bad. The student could reach that goal. If it’s the 3rd or 4th, or 5th, the student may not be as likely to reach the goal. That needs to be documented.  

3. Make sure you ARCHIVE your progress reports after you finish.

Whether you are updated progress reports in ESPD or using the excel sheet we trained on during the summer, you need to make sure you archive, otherwise the progress reports could accidentally be deleted. And you know what they say in Special Ed? If it isn’t documented, it didn’t happen. 

I hope these progress report reminders are helpful. (If not, shoot me an email and I’ll clarify any questions.) And as always, please let me know how I can help you. 

8 Dos and Don’ts for RtI

Response to Intervention (RtI) can be a beast to manage. From identifying needs, to scheduling appropriate interventions, it’s a process that can be very confusing.

All Texas public schools have some level of RtI in place to support students and fill gaps. This has become more important after the educational damage caused by COVID. Below are eight do’s and don’ts to keep in mind when structuring RtI.

  1. Do you identify students as early as possible. Don’t pull kids from core instruction for intervention. No amount of intervention will take the place of what they missed in tier one. Without a solid tier one, the student will never be on track.
  2. Do look at students’ data compared to everybody else in their class. Don’t ignore the overall class average.  It doesn’t matter if you are teaching your heart out if the students are learning the material.
  3. Do small groups in your classroom and track that as an intervention. Don’t expect your students only to get intervention during pull-out.    If you aren’t doing small groups with your students, you aren’t reaching all of them. 
  4. Do communicate with parents early on. As soon as you’re working with them in intervention, let parents know what you’re doing in the classroom. While it’s important also to send intervention materials home, don’t expect parents to be the ones to provide intervention. Some parents won’t do this or won’t know-how.
  5. Do you set a specific goal for your intervention. Don’t start intervention without baseline data. If you don’t know where you start, you’re not going to know how far the kid has come or lack thereof.
  6. Do use research-based interventions. Don’t change the focus of your intervention every other week. Identify an area and focus on that area until they’ve met their goal. For older kids, if they have multiple areas of need, start with the root of the problem.  If reading comprehension is low and the student can’t read, you have to start with reading skills.
  7. Do you track progress. Don’t forget to document if the student misses intervention sessions for any reason. If the student is making progress after three weeks of consistent intervention and then, for whatever reason, misses two weeks and backslides, that’ll make your intervention data more useful.
  8. Do you track your interventions.  Don’t get hung up on paperwork. It would be best if you had a baseline, the research-based intervention you’re doing, how long you’re doing it for, and the student’s progress.

For more information about RtI, check out the links below: