Using Data to Track Student Progress in the Inclusive Classroom


By Shaunna Garner

It is no secret that teachers are pressured to consistently raise student test scores from year to year. Teachers may have previously identified students in their classroom that require special services, or specific accommodations in accordance with an individual education plan. In addition to these students, teachers may also have an at-risk student population that has been identified by past performance on standardized assessments. All of our special education students, at-risk students, and the remainder of the general education population in the classroom is held to the same accountability standards. Although teachers regularly formatively assess their students learning on a daily basis, there are special tools out there that allow for better documentation of student progress.

With the addition of the No Child Left Behind Act of 2001, teachers are expected to produce higher student outcomes while closing the student growth gaps each year using the same accountability standards. A way teachers can see the areas of need for each student are through the utilization of progress monitoring tools.

According to Cornelius (2013), there are three quick easy methods of assessment to use in your classroom daily to see the progression of targeted student learning:

  1. The anecdotal seating chart, which can easily be created in Microsoft Word using the shapes chart, allows the teacher to make personal observations of the student’s progress in meeting the daily learning objective(s). By attaching the seating chart to a clipboard and strategically circling the room making notes of interactions with targeted students (asking questions regarding content, or making notes of assignment completion), teachers can get a daily assessment (in writing) that can be used to identify areas of focus.
  2. The daily scorecard is a six column template that the teacher can individualize to fit the needs of the student and their mastery of specific classroom practices (see example below). The score card creates a one-page visual summary of the students’ formative data (Cornelius, 2013, p 18).

  3. The Objectives Grid is a tally-system that allows the teacher to break down the key concepts of each content objective, and track the student’s mastery (see example below). The grid can also be used to track the mastery of the student’s IEP objectives (if applicable). This type of grid can be helpful to identify and track the needs of the student and help you diversify the lesson and/or differentiate for the specific students (Cornelius, 2013, p 20).

Despite the pressures that teachers face on a daily basis, know that you are not alone. As a Teacher Leader for Teacher Enrichment Leadership Academy (TELA), I would be happy to share some of my progress monitoring tools that I use through formative assessment in preparation for the 8th grade Science STAAR. Please feel free to email me to help create a tools database or if you want to share one of yours!

Cornelius, K.E. (2013). Formative assessment made easy: Templates for collecting daily data in inclusive classrooms. Teaching Exception Children 45(5), 14-21.

Article Categories: Teacher Perspectives, Teacher Professional Development