What is progress monitoring and why do we think it is essential to learning? Remember the days when only the teacher and parent knew how well the student was doing? That was back when we would get a test or assignment returned to us and stare in disbelief at the grade —- wondering how did that happen????
Self-regulation and the common core moves the learner into the key position of measuring his or her own progress in a specific area of study.
A fourth grade teacher (Bronx, NY) reported how graphing practice test goals and results helped her students track their progress for state exam preparation…….
“As part of our 4th grade test prep we give students practice tests 3 different times (January, February, and March) before the state exam. After they take their practice test they record their score on a graph and create a realistic goal for the following practice test to aim higher. Several of my students were highly motivated with this graphing system, because they saw the numbers and knew that is not the score they wanted. They wanted to aim higher so they worked very hard by getting tutoring, asking for additional practice, asking questions etc. As a result, the students saw their growth and felt extremely proud of themselves which took off lots of anxiety for the state test because they knew they had been working hard to prepare themselves for the test.” This teacher later reported the outcome of individual progress monitoring…….All of my students passed the state exam! Not only was our grade the highest scores in the entire school but not one of my students failed. Our overall percentage of 75% in ELA and overall 89% in math!
Graphs, checklists, charts, all provide simple ways for students to SEE their progress. When proximal goals are set (and NOT distal), students can see their accomplishments even if they are “baby steps” toward accomplishing a greater goal. Seeing one success at at time leads to increased self-efficacy in that specific area. Students love to enter data, especially when it reflects hard word that has led to improved scores. Teachers who provide extra help, tutoring, and support can show students how taking advantage of extra help can lead to improved performance!