How Progress Monitoring Enhances Mathematical Learning
Progress monitoring is a crucial tool for improving the academic outcomes of students with and without disabilities.
|40+ years of progress monitoring research conducted||Progress monitoring has value when used across all students||14% learning gains in students who received immediate feedback on their performance|
- Diverse student populations and limited resources make it difficult to improve overall student achievement. It’s critical to systematically and cost-effectively gather informative data on individual performance and progress — that is, progress monitoring.
- Teachers can use the information collected on a frequent basis to be aware of every student’s performance and facilitate changes in instruction for students encountering roadblocks in their learning.
- Coupled with progress monitoring, research shows differentiated instruction -- something which digital technologies could greatly enhance -- is key to meeting the learning needs of and achieving optimal learning outcomes for the diverse student population in today’s classrooms.
Table of contents
The pulse of progress monitoring
Progress monitoring… is a research-validated assessment method that provides data critical for evaluating academic performance across the entire spectrum of student achievement. These data provide teachers with direct evidence to determine whether their students are benefiting from the instructional program. Teachers who use progress-monitoring procedures with students… may better enable low-performing students to meet provisions of adequate yearly progress. However, teachers who implement systematic progress monitoring in general classrooms likely will reap benefits not only for students with identified needs but also for their other students, regardless of their achievement levels. -- Stecker et al., “Using Progress-Monitoring Data to Improve Instructional Decision Making”Progress monitoring -- especially integrated with technology -- is a viable practice teachers and school administrators can implement to overcome the obstacles mentioned above.As professor of school psychology, Dr. Edward Shapiro, outlined: progress monitoring can be used to create instructional groups, identify specific skill deficits, screen students for potential early school failure and evaluate the reintegration process for students moving from special to general education settings.
Major progress monitoring benefits
- Provide immediate feedback to both teachers and students
- Facilitate progress monitoring at individual and class-wide levels
- Enable data-driven instructional decision-making to improves student learning
Opportunities for immediate feedbackIn a study published in School Psychology Review, researchers Jim Ysseldyke and Daniel Bolt examined the effects a progress monitoring system had on math test performance for 2,202 students ranging from 3rd to 10th grade across 24 states.Over one semester, teachers set curriculum-aligned questions for their students. Students and teachers both received immediate feedback on student performance. Whenever students struggled with certain assignments, the system alerted teachers and provided them with information for differentiated instruction.Ysseldyke and Bolt found that compared to students who did not experience the progress monitoring system, those who did had significantly more gains in the end-of-semester test. For example, 3rd and 4th grade students who received immediate feedback and differentiated instruction had 14% more gains.
Access to real-time dataProgress monitoring technology can provide real-time data that allows for immediate feedback in a way traditional pencil-and-paper assignments cannot. In addition to improving learning outcomes for all types of students, a progress monitoring tool gives students a sense of control during the learning process for two reasons:
- Real-time feedback lets them know if their answers are correct.
- If they didn’t answer correctly the first time, it provides them an opportunity to try again.
Ability to differentiate instructionThe ability to detect students who may struggle with general class instruction (or find it not challenging enough) is another major benefit of progress monitoring. A study of 100 gifted and talented students between 3rd and 6th grade illustrates why:For one semester, researchers assigned 48 students to a classroom equipped with progress monitoring technology and 52 to a classroom that used traditional teaching methods. Students completed a pre-test before any implementations began, along with a post-test.There was no difference in the students’ pre-test scores. After one semester, however, students in the progress monitoring group had significantly higher post-test scores than those who experienced traditional teaching methods.Because students had received immediate feedback throughout, they could learn at their own pace while teachers could adapt to their students’ skill levels and differentiate instruction.
The key to student success
Differentiation shapes an approach to teaching in which teachers proactively modify curricula, teaching methods, resources, learning activities and student products to address the diverse needs of individual students and small groups of students to maximize the learning opportunity for each student in a classroom. -- Marilena Nicolae, “Teachers’ Beliefs as the Differentiated Instruction Starting Point: Research Basis”Teachers can combine progress monitoring and differentiated instruction to help all students achieve optimal learning outcomes. Over the decades, study after study has shown that differentiated instruction can positively impact student success, increase math motivation and boost math confidence, as well as predict higher student engagement, interest and satisfaction.There are three factors teachers must be conscious of for differentiated instruction to be as effective as possible:
- Take a proactive approach -- Plan lessons that inherently account for student differences.
- Be flexible with small learning groups -- Research suggests students in small learning groups have significantly higher levels of academic achievement than those not in groups.
- Align educational materials and pace lessons according to student needs -- Before assigning the same questions and advancing the curriculum at the same rate for the entire class, first consider each student’s academic readiness and learning style.
- Feel disengaged in their learning
- Lack motivation to succeed in school
- Receive lessons that do not promote adequate learning
How this relates to Prodigy
Want an effective EdTech tool that helps with progress monitoring? Try Prodigy — the zero-cost, curriculum-aligned math platform used by more than 1.5 million teachers and school leaders.See your building's users!