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.

What are teachers expected to do with the monitoring plan data?

The monitoring data are only useful when they are examined and used to inform instruction. Consequently, teams of teachers need to analyze and discuss the instructional implications of the data on an ongoing basis. The discussion may be focused on a number of student achievement questions:

  • Which students are not meeting proficiency on a specified indicator?
  • How is the class as a whole performing on a specified indicator?
  • What progress is the class or individual students making toward proficiency on an indicator?
  • How does an individual demonstrate proficiency on this indicator/objective?

Good data-driven dialogue leads to data-driven decisions. If the team regularly discusses their data, they are more likely to take ownership for the data-decisions the group collectively makes.

How do you lead a discussion of the monitoring data?

One of the best ways for principals to provide clear expectations for what they want staff to do is to model the process. Leading a data dialogue effectively requires a focus, data, guiding questions, and an understanding of the collaborative inquiry process. Data-driven dialogue assists teams in making shared meaning of data, in surfacing multiple perspectives, in separating data from inference, and in making data-driven decisions. Though the data are key to the dialogue, the process of collaborative inquiry drives the results. When leading the data dialogue, you will find the Seven Norms of Collaborative Work, developed by Laura Lipton and Bruce Welman, to be helpful to the process. Lipton and Wellman also advise "allowing adequate time to explore assumptions, predictions, questions, and observations before offering explanations or solutions. In doing so, groups not only reach sounder conclusions but also build their capacity to inquire and learn together."

There are a number of key questions that an examination of classroom data should address.

Student performance on an assessment

  • Which content standard indicator(s) was the teacher assessing?
  • What percent of students demonstrated proficiency?
  • What implications does that have for instruction?
  • Which students have not demonstrated that they can do this?
  • What diagnostic information do we have about what they know and still need to learn?
  • How will we use that information in the instructional program?

Student performance across time on an individual indicator

  • How many times have we assessed this indicator?
  • What percent of students have demonstrated proficiency?
  • Of the students who have not, what diagnostic information do we have about what students need help with?
  • What progress are we seeing over time?
  • Is re-teaching or any other intervention resulting in student proficiency?
  • How are we going to use this information for improved student achievement?

Instructional implications of student performance

  • Do we have any students who are not attaining proficiency across indicators?
  • Which students are most at risk?
  • What diagnostic information do we have about them to inform instruction?
  • What classroom interventions have we tried? What interventions do we plan to try next?
  • What extended time interventions have we tried? What should we do next?
  • Do we need to consider program interventions?
  • When we compare performance by subgroups (e.g., by racial group, gender, students with disabilities, ESL students, or students in the free and reduced meals program), do we see any groups not performing as well as the whole group?
  • If so, what are we going to do about that?