Progress monitoring with data is a key pillar of the Multi-Tiered System of Supports (MTSS) and Response to Intervention (RTI) process. Once an intervention plan is in action, it's essential to keep a steady pulse on whether the student is making progress towards the prescribed goal.
That's the topic of today's Panorama Q&A episode. In it, we break down how to progress monitor interventions—including what makes for strong progress monitoring, what kind of data to collect, and how to use the data to inform student supports. Watch the episode below or on YouTube.
Enjoyed this episode? Don't miss our last Q&A on how to build a tiered intervention menu.
Q: How do we progress monitor interventions to know if they're working?
Let’s say you’ve decided on an intervention for a struggling student—it could be a social skills lunch bunch or daily fluency practice. We don’t want to wait too much time to figure out if it’s effective, otherwise we might waste precious resources on implementing something that isn’t working.
Most importantly, keep in mind that strong progress monitoring is dependent on strong goals. You’ll want to create a SMART goal—a goal that is specific, measurable, attainable, relevant, and timely. For example, if we're working to build a student’s self-efficacy in math, we might set the goal: “Alice will be able to complete 80 percent of her do-now activities at the beginning of each math lesson, with the support of manipulatives."
Next, check all of the boxes to make sure that your interventions are being executed with fidelity—the combination of having a clear adult owner and a clear prescription for how often and how long the intervention will take place. For instance, you wouldn’t say that a medicine isn’t effective if the patient didn’t take it at the right time. If an intervention is most effective when delivered three times a week for an hour, then it’s important to commit the systems and resources to making it happen.
Once the intervention plan is underway, you’ll want to gather and record qualitative and/or quantitative data. Many goals are best tracked quantitatively—such as reading level growth or computational fluency—to see if the student is headed in the right direction numerically. However, behavioral or social-emotional learning (SEL) goals might work best from a qualitative standpoint, such as making note of how a student is interacting with peers in class.
Some of the strongest progress monitoring even combines both types of data. You could track a class participation goal, for example, by noting how often the student participates and the content of their comments in class.
After the intervention cycle is complete and you've synthesized the appropriate data, you will reach a decision point. The student is either:
(A) Meeting their goal and can be exited from the intervention cycle
(B) Making progress, but the intervention should continue
(C) Not on track, and it’s time to rethink the strategies within the intervention plan
I hope this is helpful as you build your student support practices. Panorama is also proud to offer free templates for progress monitoring in our Interventions and Progress Monitoring Toolkit for MTSS/RTI teams.