Skip to Content

Student Progress Monitoring Tools: How They Impact The Classroom Experience

All Posts
Students in class taking a progress monitoring assessment.


Use Prodigy to spot learning gaps, differentiate content and track student progress – all while keeping students engaged!

See how it works


  • Teaching Strategies

Educating young minds can be a hard job – and teachers deserve all the help they can get.

Student progress monitoring tools are a useful part of any teacher’s toolkit, whether you’re teaching in general education or special education classrooms. 

These research-based tools utilize student data to create an individualized plan for each student to keep them on track with the state’s current curriculum.

If you’ve been contemplating adding a student progress monitoring tool to your classroom or are looking to try out a new tool, this article will go over the most popular options. It will also discuss how progress monitoring data can positively impact students and the overall classroom experience.

What is progress monitoring data and how does it work?

Before diving into the types of tools that are available, it’s important to understand what exactly progress monitoring data is.

Progress monitoring is the process of consistently collecting and evaluating data points about student performance. This data is then measured against standards to ensure that students are on track to meet certain goals.

Following the data in real-time can help teachers to change up their lesson plans or make other instructional decisions to better fit the needs of their students. It can also assist in identifying students that may need additional support. 

To begin progress monitoring, teachers give a formative assessment to all their students to get a benchmark for their current skills, knowledge, and achievement levels.

Progress monitoring can also be incredibly helpful for students with learning disabilities. It allows the student to be compared to their own starting point instead of where their peers are at. 

And with just a glance at the data, a teacher can know if the student is making positive progress towards their goals. 

6 Examples of data-based progress monitoring in the classroom

There are a few different ways that teachers can monitor student learning progress in the classroom. 

Examples of student progress monitoring include: 

  • Response to Intervention
  • Positive Behavioral Interventions and Supports
  • Individualized Education Programs
  • Curriculum-Based Measurement
  • Computer Adaptive Tests
  • Multi-Tiered Systems of Support

Regardless of what subject or age you teach, there is a tool that can work for your classroom. 

In addition to tracking student achievement, progress monitoring tools can be used to address behavioral challenges in the classroom.

Response to intervention (RTI)

Response to Intervention, or RTI, is a system of support put in place to provide students with the tools they need to succeed in school.

Within this system, students are broken down into three tiers of support:

  • Tier 1: Students receive instruction from the core curriculum.
  • Tier 2: Students are below their grade level and require instruction in small groups.
  • Tier 3: Students need individualized support and are unresponsive to tier 1 & tier 2 instruction.

While the majority of students will fall into tier 1, the students in tiers 2 and 3 will require additional support throughout the school year. This system helps teachers make a game plan at the beginning of the year and know what extra help or resources they may need. 

Tip: Use our free math placement tests to get a baseline of every student's performance

If you're teaching students in 1st-8th grade, use Prodigy Math to easily establish a baseline comprehension level for each student.

When students first play Prodigy Math at school, a placement test will automatically run in the background. Powered by an adaptive algorithm, question content is designed to give you a clear understanding of what grade level every student is at and how they're progressing in your curriculum.

Best of all? Prodigy Math is available at no cost to teachers and schools, with plenty of time-saving features and reports included!

No wonder Prodigy was ranked 1st for perceived learning value!

See how it works

Positive behavioral interventions and supports (PBIS)

Positive Behavioral Interventions and Supports, or PBIS, is a system used to support students that exhibit behavioral issues in the classroom. PBIS is an approach that is primarily focused on the prevention of negative behavior instead of using punishment after negative behavior has occured.

This research-based approach is used to guide students towards positive behavior, meet certain behavioral expectations, and function well in the classroom.

PBIS focuses heavily on providing clear behavioral expectations throughout the school day to ensure all students can understand and meet them.

Individualized education programs (IEP)

Individualized education programs, or IEPs, are a progress monitoring tool used to support academic growth. IEPs are primarily used in special education classrooms but can also be found in general education as well.

IEPS are legal documents written in a very specific way to lay out a program of special education instruction for an individual student.

IEPs will ensure that a student is receiving the necessary support and accommodations they need throughout the school year.

For many educators, IEPs can be challenging, especially if you're new to writing them. Get tips on how to create an IEP for your students below or check out our article on 9 Powerful Ways to Lead a Successful IEP Meeting for extra support!

Computer adaptive tests (CAT)

Computer Adaptive Tests (CAT) are used to measure a student’s academic progress. This tool is assessment-based and adapts based on a student’s previous answers. While the assessments are short, the adaptation in real-time provides a great picture of where the student is at. 

An example of this adaptation would be if a student gets a question correct, the difficulty will continue to increase. However, if a student gets an answer wrong, the difficulty will stay the same level or be reduced.

See adaptive learning technology in action!

When your students play Prodigy Math and Prodigy English, our adaptive algorithm automatically detects and tailors content to areas each student can grow in. It'll also give you reports and time-savings tools to make differentiating content easy – all at no cost for teachers and schools!

Try it in your class and see what learning gaps you can uncover with Prodigy!

Sign up for free

Curriculum-based measurement (CBM)

Curriculum-based measurement (CBM) is a popular option to measure student development in the areas of reading, writing, and mathematics. This progress monitoring tool uses very short assessments to track students’ progression over time. 

These 1 to 5 minute assessments cover multiple topics, and the results are added to a single progress monitoring chart. From that chart, teachers will be able to see exactly well how students are progressing and ensure that everyone in their classroom is on track with the curriculum.

If you already use performance-based assessments in your classroom, this method may be a good fit. 

Multi-tiered systems of support (MTSS)

The Multi-Tiered Systems of Support (MTSS) approach is used to monitor progress and create both academic and behavioral strategies for students. This approach combines tactics from both RTI and PBIS.

MTSS utilizes a proactive approach to identify students with behavioral and academic needs. Much like the RTI system, MTSS will break down students into 3 different tiers:

  • Tier 1: Proactive classroom students
  • Tier 2: Small group support students
  • Tier 3: Individualized support students

These divisions allow teachers to provide the right support to each individual student and help them to meet their individualized learning goals. This includes non-academic support, like planning social emotional learning activities or regular parent conferences.

Progress monitoring tools: Frequently asked questions

Student handing assessment to teacher.

Do all students require progress monitoring tools?

This question is dependent on where and who you’re teaching, but in general, not all students require progress monitoring tools.  In most general education classrooms, you may have only a few individual students who may benefit from utilizing progress monitoring measures.

However, special education teachers may find that most of their students will benefit from a more detailed progress monitoring process. 

Since all of their students are likely at different levels, these tools help them track student performance throughout the school year more effectively.

What is the best way to track the rate of improvement for individual students?

There’s not one right answer here! 

Depending on what subject you teach, which tool you use, and just your personal preferences, you can track improvement rates in a number of ways. Some teachers utilize spreadsheets or pen and paper to track improvements, while others prefer more high-tech methods. 

Whatever works for you and your students is what’s best to use. 

It can be helpful to have weekly or biweekly check-ins with your students to help both of you see the data, understand what it means, and keep moving towards forward progress.

Are progress monitoring tools effective for a variety of different learners?

Since progress monitoring tools are meant to help teachers meet student needs and gauge the effectiveness of instruction, they can be especially effective for teaching a variety of learners. 

Progress monitoring tools are completely customizable, allowing teachers the freedom to tweak them to fit their students’ needs. 

And the better that you understand each of your student’s learning styles, the better you will be able to create the most effective progress monitoring system. This, in turn, will also help with effective goal-setting for each of your students.

What grade levels benefit most from utilizing progress monitoring tools?

All grade levels will benefit from using progress monitoring tools to meet their academic goals. You may find that certain tools, though, are better for different ages. 

However, it’s important to remember that not every individual student will require the use of academic progress monitoring.

Create an engaging learning environment for your students

If you’ve found that other tools, like anchor charts, work well in your classroom, adding a progress monitoring tool may be a great next step. There are so many different types and methods to choose from that you are sure to find one that works for you and your students. 

Using a progress monitoring tool in your classroom will help you know how well your students are grasping the lessons and easily see student progress throughout the year. 

If you're looking for a tool that lets you track and monitor progress, while also engaging your students, try Prodigy! Available at no cost for teachers and schools, Prodigy gives elementary and middle school students fun, adaptive skill practice in math and English.

See how it works below:

Create your free teacher account