Progress Monitoring

What is Progress Monitoring?

When an intervention is identified as appropriate for a student, the team must consider how they will monitor the effectiveness of the intervention. Such monitoring is essential, as the outcome of the intervention may dictate the next steps for the student (e.g., more intensive interventions, placement change, increase or decrease in services, etc.)

Progress monitoring tracks the effectiveness of the behavioral intervention, as shown by behavior change. This may be an increase in desired behavior and/or a decrease in challenging behavior. Tracking of other related behaviors, such as an increase in general positive behavior (e.g., increased work completion) may also be targeted for monitoring to evaluate the effectiveness of the intervention.

For progress monitoring to be effective, accurate baseline information/data must be collected. Without information about where the student started, the team will be unable to determine if the intervention made any impact.

Progress Monitoring vs. Treatment Fidelity

Progress monitoring differs from treatment fidelity in that progress monitoring is measuring the output of the student behavior and the effects of the intervention, while treatment fidelity measures the adult behaviors connected to implementation of the intervention.

However, both are crucial, as progress monitoring data from an intervention implemented without fidelity will be ineffective; decisions should not be made when an intervention has not actually been implemented as designed.

Benefits of Progress Monitoring

  • Base decisions on data rather than hunch, best guess, opinion, gut feeling, alleged reputation, and/or perceptions
  • Leads to improved outcomes
  • Data are objective and defensible
  • Supports follow through with intervention
  • Prevents train/consult and hope

How to Monitor Progress

  • Assign person to be responsible for gathering and organizing the progress monitoring data
  • Select tool and gather baseline data
  • Collect the progress monitoring data on a weekly basis
  • Input it into a data management system
  • Generate a graph after a minimum of three data points have been collected
  • Team evaluates graph to make a data-based decision

Types of Progress Monitoring Tools

  • Data collection
    • Consider existing data sources such as class removals, office referral, suspension, attendance record, etc.
  • Direct behavior rating scales
  • Point sheet
  • Brief behavior rating scale

Original content presented at PENT Forums by Diana Browning Wright and Dr. Clay Cook, summarized here for accessibility.