Progress Monitoring Data Review

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    In a previous blog post, I shared our continued need to focus on strengthening our progress monitoring review process. This blog is intended to illustrate how our structures and “story script” are used to keep a team focused and provide a common language to problem solve with data.  I’d like to introduce you to Jamari. (Note: All names have been changed to protect the identity of the student.)

    Fall Benchmark Review

    Jamari is a 2nd grade student at Cherokee Elementary. Jamari’s teacher, Ms. Edmond shared he has strengths in the areas of phonemic awareness, early phonics and blending skills indicated on his DIBELS nonsense word fluency assessment, and listening comprehension during core instruction. 

    His performance at the beginning of the year indicated the need for intense support in phonics and fluency which are impacting his comprehension. Ms. Edmond provided historical information to indicate that Jamari has had difficulty in the area of phonics since kindergarten and it was noted that listening comprehension and vocabulary were not strengths in kindergarten or first grade.

    Given his needs in multiple areas of literacy (phonics, fluency, vocabulary, and comprehension), the team elected to provide reading intervention with Early Intervention in Reading (EIR) 5x per week for 60 min. per day as a supplement to Open Court core instruction.  The EIR placement test was used to select an appropriate starting point.

    October Progress Monitoring Review

    At the October progress monitoring review, the data indicated that Jamari was making adequate progress and that EIR seemed a good fit for Jamari. The team elected to “stay the course.”


    December Progress Monitoring Review

    Jamari’s progress was reviewed in late December and the team was pleased with his progress and the customized interventions.  Mrs. Edmond, Ms. Earley, the reading specialist, and Jamari’s parents had no concerns to be addressed, so the team’s decision was to “stay the course.”


    Winter Benchmark Review

    After the winter benchmark, the team reconsidered the intervention groups and felt that Jamari was appropriately placed in the right intervention and was making adequate progress on the EIR mastery assessments.  As they examined Jamari’s progress after returning from winter break, his performance seemed to reflect the vulnerability of his reading skill development to the  effects of having 2 weeks off of school and early January snow days.  When looking at the progress monitoring passages and reflecting on daily performance, Mrs. Edmond shared that Jamari could use some reinforcement of sight words and would benefit from  taking home books to practice the decoding skills he is working on and apply them in connected text.  The team did not collect additional diagnostic data, but decided to implement efficient strengthening customizations to EIR and core instruction. They added what they call a “desktop distributive review” that is a strip of paper on Jamari’s desk that includes 5 sight words. At various times in the day, Mrs. Edmond can go by Jamari’s desk and quickly ask “what word?” to each of the words on the strip. If Jamari makes an error on a word, he uses the “say it, spell it, say it” strategy. Those he gets correct he draws a star under them and after 5 stars, the word is replaced with another sight word.

    For additional fluency practice with the phonics skills being taught, Ms. Earley pulled Open Court decodables that corresponded to the skills covered to date in EIR. These were sent home for practice with a tip sheet provided to Jamari’s parents on what to emphasize when reading and how to respond if Jamari makes an error.


    March Progress Monitoring Review

    While the team felt EIR was the appropriate intervention, they discussed changes that may help get Jamari back on track.  Ms. Earley wanted to give him a phonics diagnostic. Her rationale was that while he was demonstrating adequate progress on the EIR mastery assessments, his accuracy on the progress monitoring passages was below 95% and the errors weren’t all sight words. She wanted to see if Jamari could demonstrate a solid mastery of phonics skills covered to date in EIR and she didn’t want to go further with an intervention focused on fluency of skills if there were accuracy issues. The results of the phonics assessment demonstrated strengths with the skills covered to date, with the exception of the silent “e” rule. Jamari was able to tell Ms. Earley the rule, but made several errors in reading the vowel as short. Other errors appeared to be “careless – guess and go” errors because he demonstrated the skill in isolation and nonsense words, but not in connected text. Ms. Edmond has observed that during core instruction, Jamari seems to be noticing his peers increasing their reading skills and she noted that Jamari seems to make more errors in his attempt to “keep up” and sound like them when reading. They decided to do have Jamari strategically paired with a student when the teacher does paired reading.  Jamari will “echo” read after his partner so he first hears modeled fluent reading. They would start first by doing 1-2 sentences before having the partner read a paragraph. The error procedure used in EIR is also going to be used in core instruction. That is, if Jamari makes an error, upon sounding it out or being told the word, he will repeat the entire sentence so he hears the correct word in the context of the sentence.

    The team also felt it was appropriate to have Jamari practice fluent reading in a way that would reinforce his comprehension skills and provide him with positive adult attention. As such, the text from a decodable will be cut into sentence or paragraph strips. Jamari will have to read the strips and place them in order. Once completed, he will find 4 adults in the building he will read the story to
    Lastly, in order to strengthen Jamari’s comprehension skills, Mrs. Edmond wanted to use the same comprehension think sheets that are being used in EIR. This will provide continuity across intervention and core instruction.


    Lessons Learned

    Jamari is one of many students in need of our careful attention and problem solving efforts. Outcomes are strengthened through our RtI framework in several ways reinforced back to the key components addressed in Part I of this blog.

    1. Clear Purpose

    It was essential the Mrs. Edmond, Ms. Earley, and Jamari’s parents were actively involving in thinking and responding to Jamari’s reading needs. Each teacher involved offered insight and the willingness to make adjustments as warranted.

    2.  Understand Student Strengths and Needs

    Mrs. Edmond and Ms. Earley used a process that provided a common language and focus to the problem-solving efforts. They played to Jamari’s strengths, while linking changes directly to the current need at hand.

    3.  Clear Articulation of Intervention Match to Need

    The team always reviewed the appropriate match of EIR – not allowing adult or system conveniences drive the decision. They also insured that EIR was in addition to core instruction and delivered consistently across the week and for the appropriate amount of time.

    4.  Reflection on Student Progress Monitoring Data

    As we all seek to improve our skills at reflecting, Jamari’s teachers focused on key areas and used their observations to tailor a “doable and logical” customization to the intervention.  It is understood that no silver bullets exist for students like Jamari. What Jamari  and every other students deserves—and our system can provide—is our attention and skillful thinking so we are confident that we are making responsible and well thought out decisions for each student.

    * All names have been changed to protect the identity of the student
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