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.

Why start with a monitoring plan?

There is no question that a monitoring plan, in and of itself, does not address staff needs to understand the indicators and what good student work looks like on the indicator, create good observations and interpretations of student work, and analyze the results. Some would argue that you need to provide staff development on these issues before you ask staff to monitor. However, that might delay moving forward on a data collection process that is critical to understanding where students are. Creating a school-wide expectation and requirement to monitor and submit student performance data on the indicators provides a focus for the discussion and a more urgent need to learn how best to examine the work. The discussion of student performance will naturally lead back around to a discussion of how best to assess proficiency on the indicator, what the student performance tells you about what students know and don't know, and how you can use the diagnostic information to plan instruction to support students in demonstrating proficiency on the indicator. Teachers participating in the discussion frequently uncover areas in which they need to build capacity, and that self-diagnosis provides a stronger motivation for acquiring the appropriate skills.