Determining if your child is making progress can be an understandable process once you are aware of some background information. This blog is for parents whose children are receiving an intervention and progress monitoring. Interventions can take place for any child, for many reasons. Your child may have plans such as; IEP, 504, MTSS, RTI, SST, Behavior plan, or maybe on a less formal plan that your child’s teacher has put into place. Your child may have a diagnosis such as dyslexia, Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD), or may not. Either way, you want to know if your child is making progress along the way before the next report card comes out.
Determining Progress – Expanded Outline
Know what area your child is struggling in – specifically.
For example, if your child is struggling in reading, ask specifically in which area; phonemic awareness, phonics, fluency, comprehension, or vocabulary.
If your child’s teacher is unsure of the specific area of struggle, ask that she/he explore this with the RTI team or special education team. (The RTI team might have different names in different areas such as MTSS or Student Study Team. Whatever they call this group, it is a team of professionals who create plans for children who are struggling.)
Intervention plans can be put into place for many, many areas, both academic and social.
Goals and objectives –
Definition- A goal is a realistic target that you and your school would like to see your child attain. I emphasize “realistic”, you don’t want to create a goal so high that it is unattainable, nor so low that it’s not really a goal.
Objectives are related to the goal, they might be stepping stones to achieving the final goal, or related smaller steps that will help attain the goal.
Goals and objectives should be measurable so that an outside person could see that it is accomplished.
But first, we need to know the Baseline.
Definition - The baseline is the test score or data (usually a number) from a reliable source (a test or chart) that tells you where your child is performing right now, or when the goal is created.
Sources – It is best if the baseline comes from a reliable source that can be measured again, and often.
Definition – an intervention is teaching a specific skill, in addition to the general classroom instruction.
There are numerous interventions, much well research based. Ask your child’s teacher what intervention is going to be used. Of course, you can use interventions outside of school. There are many learning centers and online programs to help children in various areas. I’d be happy to help you explore those options.
Now we finally get to Progress monitoring
Definition – Progress monitoring is the test, or another data gathering method, that is administered often to evaluate whether or not the intervention is working.
Progress monitoring should be done no less than every other week, although weekly is ideal.
Appropriate – if the issue is phonemic awareness, the assessment should test phonemic awareness.
It is important that you, as a parent, keep informed of this progress, specifically the scores. Ask your child’s teacher to keep you in the know of each progress monitoring test, decide on how this will be done consistently. (email, planner, Friday folder)
If your child is making progress, go ahead and celebrate. If not, don’t make a big deal or punish your child.
Evaluate the intervention – Is it working? This is the whole point of progress monitoring.
Evaluate the effectiveness of the overall trend. Performance rarely demonstrates consistent growth each week.
Use progress monitoring results to look at overall growth on the skill over a bit of time, six weeks is good.
If in six weeks you see that your child is making progress towards the goal, then great! Your child’s teacher should continue until the goal is met, or progress is no longer evident.
If in 6 weeks the data demonstrates regression, lack of progress, or not enough progress, use a different intervention.
It might take a bit of experimentation to find the right intervention. Be patient with the process, but also involved with it. Although intervention programs are not put into plans such as IEPs, you as a parent should know what intervention is being used.
Keep the intervention in your file or method of saving this data. It may be extremely useful as your child changes grades, teachers or even schools. You then know what has worked and what hasn’t, and can share this information.
Here is a catch though, with schools so very underfunded, the interventions at your child’s school may be limited. A program you may have heard of, or researched, may not be available at your child’s school. Work with your school and teacher to explore options if your child is not responding to their interventions.
If you have the means, consider getting your child help on the specific skill needed outside of school hours. There are great learning centers that can make a huge difference. A wonderful benefit of this is that your child would not be missing any grade level academics while receiving the intervention.
Please contact us if you have any questions or would like help putting an intervention plan into place.