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The Use of Progress Monitoring with Students with Significant Cognitive Disabilities. Diane M. Browder, PhD University of North Carolina at Charlotte With Bree Jimenez, MED Charlotte Mecklenburg School System. Today’s Presentation….

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the use of progress monitoring with students with significant cognitive disabilities

The Use of Progress Monitoring with Students with Significant Cognitive Disabilities

Diane M. Browder, PhD

University of North Carolina at Charlotte

With Bree Jimenez, MED

Charlotte Mecklenburg School System

today s presentation
Today’s Presentation…
  • Segment One: Current thinking about aligning with grade level standards
  • Segment Two: Based on…

Browder, D., Wallace, T., Snell, M., & Kleinert, H. (In review). The use of progress monitoring with students with significant cognitive disabilities.

A White Paper Prepared for the National Center on Student Progress Monitoring

what is progress monitoring
What is Progress Monitoring
  • When teachers assess students’ academic performance on a regular basis to determine where students are profiting from the instructional program and to build more effective programs for students who benefit inadequately from current instruction.
curriculum based measurement
Curriculum Based Measurement
  • CBM
    • More than 200 empirical studies
    • Academic performance sampled through direct observation and scoring of correct and incorrect responses in a fixed time period
    • Repeatedly sampling across time
    • Differs from Mastery Learning – focus on progress through grade level content
standard tasks used for cbm
Standard Tasks used for CBM
  • Read aloud
  • Writing word sequences
  • Writing letter sequences
  • Solving problems in arithmetic
challenges in using cbm with students with significant disabilities
Challenges in Using CBM with Students with Significant Disabilities
  • Rarely been applied or evaluated
  • Degree of flexibility needed for the assessment to be accessible
  • Paucity of research
  • No consensus on what is adequate progress in the general curriculum for students with significant cognitive disabilities
segment one
  • What is academic progress for students with significant cognitive disabilities? What should we expect?
grade level content standards with alternate achievement
Grade Level Content Standards with Alternate Achievement
  • Differs from functional academics
  • Differs from entry level academics
    • Full range of grade level content
    • Materials/activities of the grade level are adapted
    • Focus on accessible ways to teach construct, principle, or procedure contained in content
recommendations for progress for students with scd
Recommendations for Progress for students with SCD

1st – show progress in academic content that is aligned with assigned grade level

(USDOE Nonregulatory Guidance, August 2005)

What that means…

  • Same content- Same/similar materials, activities, contexts as assigned grade level based on age
  • Similar type of performance- but reduced in complexity, breadth, depth
  • Different expectation for achievement-not grade level achievement
  • SAMPLE STATE STANDARD: Summarize information from informational text
    • Example of what 5th graders in general education do: Use a website to find key information on a topic that they select
      • Example for student with significant cognitive disabilities:
        • Choose the topic using picture or object choice
        • Go on website with peer support, student learns to click icon for the internet with no prompt (icon may be enlarged)
        • Select picture that provides information on topic, student learns to select, copy, paste the picture into a powerpoint to submit as a report
showing academic progress for students with significant cognitive disabilities
Showing Academic Progress for Students with Significant Cognitive Disabilities

2nd-Target skills used to increase both participation in the grade level content and to improve literacy and numeracy

  • Prerequisite skills may be used in alternate assessments evaluated with alternate achievement standards (USDOE Nonregulatory Guidance, August 2005)
  • STATE STANDARD: Analyze text to find elements of the story
    • To participate in general curriculum, students with significant cognitive disabilities need skills to participate in reading of story
    • Early literacy skills are applicable- open book, turn the page, show understanding by pointing to pictures
    • Caveat- but use a book that is “grade appropriate” …a simplifed version of Call of the Wild for middle school versus preschool book like Brown Bear, Brown Bear.
academic progress for students with significant cognitive disabilities
Academic Progress for Students with Significant Cognitive Disabilities

3rd – differentiate expectations based on degree of symbolic communication

  • Symbolic Level:Students who can show progress using pictures, some reading, numbers, some math
  • Early Symbolic Level: Students who can show progress using some selected pictures, some numbers, concrete materials
  • Presymbolic Level:Students who will need to show progress using objects, concrete materials, although should also pair words/pictures with these for exposure and incidental learning
  • SKILL: Solve for a simple linear equation such as 4+x=10.
    • Symbolic: Student can count. Can use a number line to count from 4 up to 10 to solve for x.
    • Early Symbolic: Student cannot count; uses counting jig to fill in object number line to find out if have 4, how many more to get 10 needed for job task; then communicates “6” using voice output AAC
    • Presymbolic: Student uses object number line which may be large bins on table; 4 are prefilled; fills in rest; items are prenumbered with stickers; teacher counts to six as places in bin; student peels off the “six”. Teachers shows how 4 and 6 more get 10.
end of segment one questions and discussion
End of Segment One:Questions and Discussion
  • Before discussing the specific models for progress monitoring, Dr. Browder will answer questions about linking to grade level content standards. Please submit questions now.
  • Bree Jimenez will talk briefly about some experiences teaching academics to students with significant disabilities. Bree is the Charlotte Mecklenburg School System coordinator for our USDOE grant on Teaching Reading, Writing, Math, and Science to Students with Significant Cognitive Disabilities
segment two
  • Models for Student Progress Monitoring
three options for monitoring progress in academic skills
Three Options for Monitoring Progress in Academic Skills
  • Extend the current CBM models to students with significant cognitive disabilities
  • Extend data-based decisions research from functional living skills to academics
  • Borrow from alternate assessment portfolio models to consider ways both data and work samples can be used to assess progress
curriculum based measurement19
Curriculum-Based Measurement
  • Simple set of procedures for repeated measurement of student growth towards an instructional goal
  • Inexpensive, easy to use, time efficient, easy to understand, sensitive to small changes in performance.
  • Valid indicator of general academic health
cbm administration
CBM Administration
  • Provides regular (often weekly) information on the progress students are making
  • Use data from measures (1-5 min)
  • Teacher counts and records student’s score
  • Student’s score is recorded on graph and compared to goal line
  • Determine when a change in instruction is needed
evidence base for cbm
Evidence Base for CBM
  • Reading-Elementary-Aged student
  • Also – writing, spelling, math, science, and more
  • Now used across age-spectrum (pre-K thru high school)
  • Other systems – assessment processes (DIBELS, IGDIs)
    • Greenwood, C. R., Tapia, Y., Abbott, M., & Walton, C. (2003). A building-based case study of evidence-based literacy practices: Implementation, reading behavior, and growth in reading fluency, K-4. Journal of Special Education, 37, 95-110.
the question is
The Question is . . . . . .

Can CBM be effective in measuring the academic performance of students with significant cognitive disabilities?

  • Research Institute on Progress Monitoring (RIPM) at the University of Minnesota

-beginning 2005-06

using what is available
Using what is available!
  • Research by:

Otaiba, S.A., & Hosp, M. (2004). Providing effective literacy instruction to students with down syndrome. TEACHING Exceptional Children, 36, 28–35.

    • Use beginning reading and math CBMs that are readily available
    • Create additional CBMs that capture other aspects of early reading that may be relevant
      • E.g., Sight word reading
limitations in trying to apply cbm for students with scd
Limitations in Trying to Apply CBM for Students with SCD
  • Grade level expectations not always clear for students with significant cognitive disabilities
  • Current practices often assume skills students do not have (e.g., verbal language to read aloud; writing skills)
  • Alternative methods will be needed for some students
the data based decision model
The Data-Based Decision Model
  • Behavioral measures
    • For example: task analytic assessment, repeated trials, frequency count
  • Progress is monitored by graphing and then applying a set of decision rules
    • Potential to be extended to a greater range of academic skills more typical of grade level content
      • NCAAP model
research foundation for data based decisions
Research Foundation for Data-Based Decisions

High Support:

  • 25 years of research
  • When teachers made rule-based decisions, students showed considerably more progress
    • Browder, D., Demchak, M.A., Heller, M., & King, D. (1989). An in vivo evaluation of the use of data-based rules to guide instructional decisions. Journal of the Association for Persons with Severe Handicaps, 14, 234-240.
  • May save time in making instructional decisions
    • Haring, N., Liberty, K., & White, O. R. (1981). An investigation of phases of learning and facilitating instructional events for the severely/profoundly handicapped learners. Final project report. Seattle: University of Washington, School of Education.
limitations from research
Research shows teachers-

May be overly rigid

Rely more on non data- based information

Use “intuition”

Fail to graph data

Not collect enough data.


Data based decision making does not come “naturally”; teachers need opportunity to learn a specific system


To date most data-based decisions research has been with teachers collecting data on functional skills

How affects progress in academics a question for future research

Limitations from Research
guidelines for making instructional decisions model
Guidelines for Making Instructional Decisions Model
  • Data collection method chosen
  • Daily Data taken at the onset
    • progress = ascending trend – data can be taken less often (still once per week)
    • not making progress = flat or decending trend – data should be gathered at least 2x week.
  • Once 5 data points are collected, data can be summarized using standard (equal interval) graphs.
standardize graphs
Standardize Graphs
  • Lengths of x and y same
  • Solid vertical lines = major phase changes
  • Broken vertical lines = minor phase changes
  • Data points not connected across phrase changes, absences, vacations, or different assessment contexts
  • After first 3 days of instruction, aim line is drawn (beginning and target criterion)
  • 5 days of data =
    • performance is adequate (3/5 points above the line)
    • Inadequate = Problem Analysis Worksheet

Example: Making a Purchase by Counting with PenniesM.E. Snell & F. Brown (Eds.), Instruction of students with severe disabilities (6th ed, pp. 170-105). Upper Saddle River, NJ: Merrill/Prentice-Hall, p. 198.)

simplified decision rules
Simplified Decision Rules
  • Adequate progress- no change
  • No progress- simplify
  • Slow progress- fade prompting
  • Variability/regression-improve motivation
borrowing from portfolio assessments
Borrowing From Portfolio Assessments
  • Sometimes difficult to capture progress with data alone
  • Portfolio assessment can use multiple sources of information to make decision about progress
research on portfolios
Research on Portfolios
  • Kentucky’s alternate assessment is a portfolio that includes…
    • Measure of independence on target skills
    • Age-appropriate products
    • Collected ongoing basis
  • Research on Kentucky model shows outcome scores correlated with …

Kentucky Alternate Portfolio Project (2004). Kentucky Alternate Portfolio Teacher’s Guide 2004-2005. Lexington, KY: University of Kentucky, Interdisciplinary Human Development Institute.

multiple sources of information
Multiple Sources of Information

Allows for not only reviewing data for progress, but also triangulation of information. Is progress also apparent in student work sample? Observation?

segment two questions
  • Please submit questions now about data-based decisions or extensions of CBM
  • During this time, Bree Jimenez will talk more about the simplified decision rules with examples of each.
summary three options for student progress monitoring
Summary: Three Options for Student Progress Monitoring
  • Track progress using early reading and math CBMs (extend to this population)
  • Use graphs of task analytic, repeated trial, and frequency data and decision rules (extend from functional skills to academics)
  • Use work samples, anecdotal notes, and other portfolio entries to gain rich picture of progress (extend from alternate assessment portfolios to ongoing decision making)
  • These three methods have some empirical support, BUT ALSO
    • Need research on how show progress on skills aligned with grade level content
    • Need new methods
  • As time permits, additional questions will be answered at this time.
  • Go to next slide for additional resources and contact information.
some new resources
Some New Resources
  • Browder, D.M., Ahlgrim-Delzell, L., Courtade-Little, G., & Snell, M.E. (2006). Access to the general curriculum. In M.E. Snell & F. Brown (Eds.). Instruction of students with severe disabilities. Upper Saddle River, NJ: Prentice Hall.
  • Browder, D.M. & Courtade-Little, G. (2005). Aligning IEPs to academic content standards. Madison, WI: Attainment Co.
  • Browder, D.M., & Spooner, F. (In press for spring 2006). Teaching reading, math, and science to students with significant cognitive disabilities. Baltimore, Md: Paul H. Brookes Publishing Co.
contact information
Diane M. Browder, PhD

Snyder Distinguished Professor of Special Education

Department of Special Education

University of North Carolina at Charlotte

9201 University City Blvd

Charlotte, NC 28223

Bree Jimenez, Med

Coordinating Teacher for Specialized Grants

Department for Exceptional Children

Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools

700 E Stonewall Street

Suite 404

Charlotte, NC 28202

Contact Information
Robin G. Greenfield, Ph.D.

Center on Disabilities and Human Development

University of Idaho

322 E. Front Street, Suite 440

Boise, Idaho 83702

(208) 364-4012