School Improvement in Maryland

Monitor Student Progress

The only way for teachers and schools to identify which students can demonstrate proficiency on state content standards is to continuously assess and monitor students as part of their classroom instruction. 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. Schools have to identify the student achievement data they need to collect to determine if they are making progress toward the attainment of their priority goals.

How do you develop a monitoring plan?

What data will you collect?

Schools have to identify the student achievement data they need to collect to determine if they are making progress toward the attainment of their priority goals. If a school's goal is to meet the reading AYP target, then the school will need to collect individual student data on the content standards the state measures on reading at the indicator/objective level. The school's monitoring plan should focus on tracking individual student progress on these indicators and objectives.

It is worth emphasizing that in addition to the student performance data collected to monitor school improvement goals, teachers may also need tools to collect student performance data on all the indicators they are responsible for teaching. In a perfectly aligned system, this would replace a teacher's grade book that is also a data collection tool though rarely aligned with the content standard indicators.

In order to promote ownership, principals will want staff to collaboratively develop a monitoring plan. The staff need to divvy up the indicators/objectives in ways that make instructional sense and discuss what data need to be collected on each indicator to determine progress. The discussion should be framed around the question, "What data have we collected (or should we collect) as evidence that students are learning specified indicators?"

After schools have identified the student data they need to collect to monitor progress, they will find it useful to create a data collection template (a table, grid, database, or spreadsheet) for staff to use in recording the data. The school must also decide in what format they want to record the data and where it should be submitted. Another resource that might help you with some of the decisions you need to make is Lessons Learned from School Teams which includes audio presentations by Title I school leadership teams discussing what they learned from implementing monitoring plans at their schools.

If the school district has a district curriculum, staff may wish to map the state content standard indicators against the district curriculum to determine if all standards are well covered. If there are indicators not presently being addressed, the team will need to decide who will teach and assess them and when during the school year. For indicators only addressed in the first semester, teams will need to decide how best to review them with students to ensure that students maintain proficiency.

How frequently should teachers submit the data?

It is important to collect data on an ongoing basis. Some schools already collect data on a quarterly basis using a common assessment. Although quarterly assessments provide information about student performance, this strategy has a number of drawbacks: 1) it often results in teachers viewing the monitoring piece as external to their instructional program, 2) it is not frequent enough to inform instruction, and 3) it does not move staff to the ultimate goal. The ultimate goal is to have teachers instructing and assessing the indicators they are responsible for teaching on an ongoing basis so that they will know where their students are at any given time and will use the information to direct their instruction.

Principals will need to determine how frequently monitoring data should be submitted and to whom. Since the ultimate goal is to have teachers regularly collecting, discussing, and using the data to inform classroom instruction, then you may want the data to be submitted every two or three weeks to the team leader for structured discussions of the data at team meetings. You will want to see that the data have been submitted, because it will be your responsibility to deal with any teacher not complying with the expectation.

How will teachers record and submit the data?

Once teachers know what indicators they are responsible for teaching and assessing and how frequently they need to submit the data, they need to determine the format for recording student performance on those indicators. A discussion among teams or departments about how a student can demonstrate proficiency on a specific indicator should help to broaden thinking and develop some consistency in how student performance is assessed. When the state applies a specific rubric or scoring tool to their assessment of this content area, it is important for teachers to understand the criteria used to score and be able to apply the same assessment criteria to determine whether a student is likely to demonstrate proficiency on the state assessment. However, it is more important for staff to be able to diagnose student performance to determine what a student knows and still needs to learn. Using a holistic rubric to score a student response does not give you the diagnostic information to inform instruction.

Planning templates were created on the School Improvement in Maryland website to serve as a stimulus for discussing how best to monitor individual student progress on these indicators through an ongoing collection of classroom data as part of the regular instructional program.

After schools have identified the student data they need to collect to monitor progress, they will find it useful to create a data collection template (a table, grid, database, or spreadsheet) for staff to use in recording the data. The school must also decide in what format they want to record the data and where it should be submitted. One resource that might help you with some of the decisions you need to make is Lessons Learned from School Teams which includes audio presentations by Title I school leadership teams discussing their implementation of monitoring plans and what they learned in the process.

It is worth emphasizing that in addition to the student performance data collected to monitor school improvement goals, teachers may also need tools to collect student performance data on all the indicators they are responsible for teaching. In a perfectly aligned system, this would replace a teacher's grade book which is also a data collection tool though rarely aligned with the content standard indicators.