Online College Courses for Credit

Improving Instruction for All: Progress Monitoring in the Content Areas

Improving Instruction for All: Progress Monitoring in the Content Areas

Author: Nicole Bucka

As teachers of content, secondary educators need a way to measure students' learning as well as their maintenance of content throughout the school year. Research demonstrates positive effects and a potential solution, but it is emerging and has not been practically implemented in non-research situations. The processes and lessons learned in this tutorial are thanks to a pilot group of Rhode Island secondary school science teachers who attempt to bridge the research-practice gap and seek to share their learning with other educators.

See More
Fast, Free College Credit

Developing Effective Teams

Let's Ride
*No strings attached. This college course is 100% free and is worth 1 semester credit.

29 Sophia partners guarantee credit transfer.

312 Institutions have accepted or given pre-approval for credit transfer.

* The American Council on Education's College Credit Recommendation Service (ACE Credit®) has evaluated and recommended college credit for 27 of Sophia’s online courses. Many different colleges and universities consider ACE CREDIT recommendations in determining the applicability to their course and degree programs.


The Why-Research Base

The National Center on Progress Monitoring

This center's mission is to disseminate information about progress monitoring practices proven to work in different academic content areas and it has a wealth of great webinars and resources.

Funded by the Office of Special Education Programs (OSEP), it is housed at the American Institutes for Research working in conjunction with researchers from Vanderbilt University.

Research: Using Curriculum Based Measure to Prevent Failure and Assess Learning in the Content Areas

Research: Curriculum-Based Measurement in the Content Areas-Vocabulary Matching as an Indicator of Progress in Social Studies Learning

The How (Part 1) Making the Probes

Sample Probe

This sample, from a 7th grade science curriculum, has 20 definitions and 22 terms (2 distractors). Probes were systematically made so that each probe equally represents each unit, half from first semester, half from second, and with "Big Idea" representation ( a few terms that run the course of the entire year's curriculum) to ensure that they are all equally challenging.


Teacher's Manual (DRAFT)

This manual, with elements taken from a variety of resources noted, was created to not only assist these four teachers in standardizing their process, but also to use in the future for training new teachers or expanding this work to additional departments.


Source: Adapted from Jim Wright's Manual

Probe Administration (2 min)

This is just an example of the teacher reviewing briefly the standardized probe instructions. Since students take the 3 minute probes bi-weekly and they are now accustomed to the probes, this does not include the modeling and think-aloud of initial instruction.

The How (Part 2) Using the Probe Data Formatively

Instruction: "Big Idea" Vocabulary Organizer

This process was done only on key terms, broken up over two days, and completed collaboratively with students discussing.


Instruction: Science Prefixes, Suffixes, and Roots

This was part of the student tool kit for completing the "Big Idea" graphic organizer (above) because explicitly teaching word parts is an evidence based instructional strategy.


Instruction: Teaching Mnemonics

This is a "cheat sheet" to help teachers to explicitly teach students how to develop mnemonics (students tend to simply illustrate the concept) within the "Big Idea" graphic organizer because using mnemonics is an evidence based memory strategy for struggling learners, a study skill for all learners, and a higher DOK activity when students create them.


Instruction: Beginning Menu of Instructional Methods

We began by adding a handful of new, evidence based instructional methods taken from Marzano and Pickering's "Building Academic Vocabulary" and continued to add more/refine as the teachers' skill set grew. For the purposes of this tutorial, this is a beginning menu.


Data Use: Four Quadrant Sort (DRAFT)

After each benchmark (fall, winter, spring), the teachers use this sort to "drill deeper" into students who are not meeting benchmark in order to identify next steps for groups of students.


Data Analysis Cycle (Using Probe Data Formatively) Tier I (13 minutes)

This video shows teachers using probe data to improve instruction for all students by focusing on common misunderstandings for groups of students. This process is quick-with a focus on changing instruction because it happen frequently.

Note: We also analyzed Tier 2 students (persistent non-responders) to plan classroom interventions, but that is not shown in this video.

Data Analysis Cycle Template

This template outlines the "short cycle", on-going use of data to inform Tier 1 instruction (what we do for ALL students). This process is also shown in the video below).


Source: Used/Adapted with permission of The Leadership and Learning Center, copyright 2012, all rights reserved