How to monitor student progress in special education

Special education students have unique needs, goals, and challenges that require educators to remain flexible when it comes to their learning. One way educators can achieve this flexibility is through progress monitoring in special education.

Monitoring the ups and downs of a student’s individual educational journey gives educators the chance to build goals, lessons, and assessments that will best suit their needs. To best track progress, educators need access to tools that reduce their administrative work while providing students with accurate and helpful resources. Follow along as we break down why progress monitoring is important, what are some common monitoring techniques, and how the right tools can make all the difference.

The importance of progress monitoring for special education students

Since every student learns at their own pace, progress monitoring in special education provides a system for checking in on how each student is doing. For special education students, these systematic check-ins are primarily focused on the goals laid out in their individualized education plans (IEPs).

IEPs are essential for special education students to receive special education services, and they act as the baseline for monitoring the students’ progress. Educators and other specialists — such as speech therapists — will regularly collect data points and notes about a student’s progress to determine if they’re meeting, exceeding, or falling short of expectations.

These data points help educators and specialists adjust a student’s IEP to better fit their goals, progress, and needs and create a more beneficial learning experience. IEPs also help families stay up to date on their children’s progress, as these are documents that educators monitor and evaluate over time.

Creating a plan for progress monitoring in special education requires educators and specialists to identify a few key factors about their students, such as

  • What the goals are for the individual student
  • How to measure student progress (or lack thereof)
  • How often to monitor progress
  • Who’s responsible for monitoring progress

Once a plan is in place, those responsible for monitoring progress will have a formal road map to guide students’ progress and help them achieve their goals.

Techniques for progress monitoring in special education

How you choose to monitor your students’ progress will likely depend on their individual IEP goals, needs, and challenges.

Some possible methods for progress monitoring include

  • Oral reading tests or other decoding skills assessments
  • Observational notes on changes in behavior, skills, or other key metrics
  • Tracking the frequency of certain behaviors
  • Functional ability checklists
  • A record of time spent on-task
  • Formative assessments to track skills such as reading, writing, and more

The techniques you use will vary depending on what behaviors and skills you’re attempting to track. You may even use multiple methods with a single student to measure a variety of IEP goals or to fit their daily behavioral needs.

Jotform Enterprise: Your assistant in special education progress monitoring

To successfully monitor your students’ progress, you need to make sure you have the best tools to assess and track it. Jotform Enterprise is ideal for schools looking to perform progress monitoring in special education. Jotform can help you both measure and test progress, as well as collect data — minimizing the number of tools required to effectively monitor students.

Jotform Enterprise offers educators the opportunity to create their own testing materials to fit their students’ needs. It not only gives you the ability to create forms but also to make them accessible. Jotform’s Form Accessibility setting allows you to create forms that are compliant with Section 508 and WCAG 2.1. You can even create online quizzes that measure success in IEP goal skills such as spelling, math, and speech, to name a few.

What’s more, tracking and organizing the results of these tests is easy with Jotform Tables. Once a test is complete, the results will automatically be synced to the form’s coordinating Jotform Table. From here, educators can sort, organize, and visualize data points however best suits their needs.

Beyond formal tests, educators can also use Jotform to create progress monitoring forms from scratch to track student progress, keep notes, and document next steps. However, if you’re short on time, you can also choose a ready-to-use form template and customize it to fit your needs. Jotform has a variety of education form templates to choose from, so you can spend more of your time helping students instead of creating documents.

Security is another top priority in progress monitoring. With Jotform Enterprise for education, special education teachers and school administrators can securely collect and store students’ data. Jotform even offers HIPAA compliance features and provides encrypted forms for added security.

As an educator, you’re always looking to help your special education students achieve their goals. Having the right tools can help maximize your results. Jotform Enterprise provides educators the opportunity to focus on their students by offering resources to make their lives easier. Before you build your next IEP, make sure your educational solution places your students’ needs at the forefront and gives them the tools they need to succeed.

Photo by RDNE Stock project

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