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Dr. Joanne Meier

Along with her background as a professor, researcher, writer, and teacher, Joanne Meier is a mom. Join Joanne every week as she shares her experiences raising her own young readers, and guides parents and teachers on the best practices in reading.

Monitoring Student Progress

July 14, 2009

When schools undertake a Response to Intervention model, one important piece involves progress monitoring (PM). Conducted at least monthly, these assessments can inform instruction, estimate rates of improvement, and identify students who are not making adequate progress.

Each of those are important to ensuring that kids are getting what they need out of their reading instruction. There are several excellent resources that provide guidance regarding progress monitoring. I'll highlight two here.

The first is the IES Practice Guide, Assisting Students Struggling with Reading. This guide is structured around five RtI recommendations. Each recommendation is rated, based on the evidence, and for each recommendation roadblocks and suggested approaches are provided. Table 3 provides recommendations (based on research compilations) for target areas for early screening and progress monitoring.

For grades K-1, letter naming fluency and phoneme segmentation are recommended for screening, and for progress monitoring through mid-first grade. For grades 1-2, measures of word identification and oral reading fluency are recommended for progress monitoring.

The second resource comes from the National Center on Response to Intervention. It takes the recommendations in the Practice Guide one step further by reviewing specific PM tools. Using a Consumer Reports type of coding, various tools are rated on "technical adequacy standards." For example, each progress monitoring tool is rated for reliability, validity, whether alternate forms exist, whether end-of-year benchmarks are provided, and whether rates of improvement are specified. My review of the compiled chart suggests there are some tools worth looking at more closely, among them AIMSweb, CBM-R, and MBSP.

If your school division is moving toward an RtI model, or you're spending the summer thinking through your assessment plans, these two resources are worth checking out.


Karen, would love to touch base with you about your position as an interventionist in Maine. My district is beginning this next year and have asked me to do it. Would love to bounce some ideas around of what is expected in your district as we try to put together an accurate and clear job description. Where do you work? What grade levels?

Hello, I enjoy your blog. I am an interventionist in Maine. We are well on our way with our RTI process. Question for you. How do you know when a child has made adequate progress and can be dismissed from a Tier 3?

I have some field-tested whole class diagnostic reading assessments that meet the IES Practice Guide, Assisting Students Struggling with Reading RtI recommendations. Teachers appreciate the multiple choice format and the progress monitoring matrices. These free assessments are found at

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"Reading is not optional." —

Walter Dean Myers