School Improvement in Maryland

Monitoring Student Progress

Try asking school staff where each of their students is on the reading comprehension objective "drawing inferences." Which students are proficient? What evidence do they have that those students are proficient? What evidence do they have to identify what students who are not proficient still need to learn?

Both research and common sense support the notion that we need to monitor student performance on an ongoing basis. If we are ever to know how we are doing, we will need to know where our students are. But that has been a challenge in schools. Try asking school staff where each of their students is on the reading comprehension objective "drawing inferences." Which students are proficient? What evidence do they have that those students are proficient? What evidence do they have to identify what students who are not proficient still need to learn? Educators who don't know where their students are do not have enough information to know how best to use their instructional time or which students need specific instructional interventions.

Annual data from the state assessments only gives schools a snapshot of where students are at a single point in time. Daily instruction continues between when the tests are given and when the results are returned to schools. Teachers must know on a day to day basis where their students are in relation to the content standards to have the necessary information to inform instruction.

This on-going monitoring is also the way teachers determine whether their instructional strategies are working for all students and which students need instructional interventions. Regular examinations of student performance on assignments and assessments enable teachers to make informed instructional decisions regarding teaching and re-teaching specific indicators/objectives. It is probably obvious, though not always practiced, that classroom instruction and assessment must be aligned with the state's content standards if a school wishes to attain state standards and meet their accountability target.