Progress Monitoring with Kindergarten and First-grade Students in a Response to Intervention Context

Blanchette, Angelica, Curriculum and Instruction - Curry School of Education, University of Virginia
Invernizzi, Marcia, Curry School of Education, University of Virginia

Executive Summary
Advisor: Marcia Invernizzi
Progress monitoring is a critical component for a Response to Intervention (RtI) process (Duran, Hughes, & Bradley, 2011; Fuchs & Fuchs, 2006; Stecker, Fuchs, & Fuchs, 2008) because it is intended to make use of student performance data to evaluate and inform instruction in an ongoing manner (National Center on Learning Disabilities, 2006). Progress-monitoring data are also instrumental in determinations of specific learning disabilities (Individuals with Disabilities Education Act [IDEA], 2004). The need for teacher use of progress-monitoring practices, which are fundamentally formative in nature (Wiliam, 2006), is evident, yet little guidance exists in the literature to support teacher implementation of formative assessment practices (Wiliam, 2010).
The purpose of this capstone project was to examine progress-monitoring practices used by kindergarten and first-grade teachers at Snowy Pond Elementary School for their students in an RtI context. The study addressed the need “to use progress monitoring to be more responsive to student instructional needs” (name withheld for confidentiality, personal communication, September 25, 2012).
A case study design was used to examine contextual influences that supported or hindered the effectiveness of progress-monitoring practices. Three kindergarten and first-grade teachers participated in the study. Classroom observational data were collected from six visits over the course of two weeks. Pre- and post-interviews were conducted and document/artifact data were collected throughout the course of the study. All data were analyzed iteratively making use of ongoing coding, interpretive notes, analytic memos, and data displays. Member checking and peer debriefing were utilized to support the validity of the findings and reduce the influence of researcher bias.
Findings include four themes that emerged from the data:
1. Progress-monitoring practices can be identified by record keeping and instructional integration.
2. Teacher-selected progress-monitoring practices tend to rank highly on effectiveness ratings.
3. Strong knowledge of early reading development may support the integration of progress monitoring into instruction.
4. Integration of differentiation at the individual student level may support effective progress-monitoring practices.
Implications and Recommendations
Related recommendations that may support effective progress-monitoring practices are reported relative to the three contextual levels examined in this study: classroom, school system and field of education.
An overarching implication across all contextual levels is the need for common, clear criteria for the identification of progress-monitoring practices. One recommendation is to start conversations about progress-monitoring practices with common, clear criteria that are grounded in the purpose of progress monitoring and that include the criteria of record keeping and instructional integration. These criteria will ensure that people who are engaged in conversations about progress monitoring are identifying the relevant assessment practices with a common lens.
Recommendations for teachers, as the primary audience at the classroom level, are to pursue:
• Early reading development knowledge needed to feel confident in setting early reading development goals for students.
• Specific progress-monitoring assessment knowledge needed to feel confident integrating progress monitoring into instruction.
• Knowledge about differentiation needed to feel confident making small-group and individual accommodations to meet student needs.
Recommendations for administrators, as the primary audience at the school-system level, are as follows:
• Set expectations for professional collaboration and provide opportunity in the school-wide schedule.
• Ask teachers about their progress-monitoring resource needs and work to fulfill those needs.
• Provide progress-monitoring guidelines with clear expectations about what progress monitoring should be, whom it is for, and how often it should be done.
• Make every effort to avoid inconsistencies to the instructional schedule.
• Prioritize smaller class and group sizes, particularly for struggling students, whenever possible.
• Provide professional development in the areas of early reading development, progress-monitoring practices, and differentiation.
The recommendation for researchers and policymakers, as the primary audience at the field-of-education level is to further investigate the implementation of progress monitoring and provide more specific guidance about what constitutes best practices thereof.

EDD (Doctor of Education)
progress monitoring, assessment, response to intervention
All rights reserved (no additional license for public reuse)
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