Techniques for Monitoring Student Progress
Students in the McKay School are at a unique time in life. During our time as students, we get to practice our skills while learning how to be teacher when we serve in the schools as part of our majors. This experience gives us the chance to both apply and receive the benefits of good instruction.
One of the essential pieces to promoting good instruction is progress monitoring, or regular assessments that help to determine the growth of a student. If a student is not reaching the rate of growth needed to succeed in the classroom, teachers should shift instruction or other practices to help this student. However, none of this would be possible without the tools used to monitor that progress.
Some of the most common techniques used to monitor progress include exit tickets, pop quizzes, and reflections. These techniques are informal, quickly administered, and low stress for students. When a monitoring technique is quantifiable, or when it can be easily scored, teachers can turn this information into visual progress displays like graphs and checklists. While useful for the teacher to adjust their instruction, quantifiable progress monitoring also helps students visualize their growth.
We asked Karen Arnesen, who currently teaches Instructional Psychology and Technology 373, all about the progress monitoring techniques she uses.
"I use several techniques for monitoring progress.
I gather a weekly self-report in which the students report what they enjoyed during the week, what was confusing or meaningless to them, how many hours they spent on course work, and a self-regulation goal they have made.
I read, grade, and give feedback on assignments.
I conduct whole class discussions to discover how the students would like to spend their time in class.
I encourage email communication and hope students will ask for help as needed. I try to answer all emails within a few hours.
I don't have a favorite technique. All ways I monitor progress contribute in some way to my approach to my classes.
Monitoring progress is important because if I don't know where my students are, I can't be an effective teacher. Knowing how my students are doing and how they feel about what they are doing helps me plan for what I teach and how I teach it."
Karen Arnesen left this advice for future teachers:
"Make knowing how students are doing--monitoring their progress--a priority. It does take time, but I believe it helps strengthen relationships and improve both teaching and learning"
Progress monitoring is an ongoing process that directs instruction and practice. In order to be the best teacher for your students, you must be informed about their growth and where it may be lacking. Sister Arnesen has highlighted the importance of techniques that involve your students in this process. Ask your students how they feel they are progressing and make sure to communicate! Tracking progress is the KEY to teaching.