Student Progress Monitoring: What This Means for Your Child

Progress monitoring can give you and your child’s teacher information that can help your child learn more and learn faster, and help you make better decisions about the type of instruction that will work best with your child.

Our children’s progress is being monitored constantly at school, through the steady stream of homework assignments, quizzes, tests, projects, and standardized tests. On first hearing the term “student progress monitoring,” our initial reaction may be “they’re doing this already!” or “more tests?”.

But do you really know how much your child is learning or progressing? Standardized tests compare your child’s performance with other children’s or with state standards. However, these tests are given at the end of the year; the teacher who has been working with your child during the year will not be able to use the test results to decide how to help your child learn better.

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Comments that Parents Hear: “I have used up all the time allotted on the IEP, therefore I am now only visiting your son as a favor which is why I make unscheduled visits to his class…”

Unfortunately, parents at times realize that they are not sure of the amount of services that their child is receiving or other aspects of the delivery of related services. Recently, a parent wrote that they just learned that a COTA (Certified Occupational Therapist Assistant) rather than an OT was working with their child.

“I have used up all the time allotted on the IEP, therefore I am now only visiting your son as a favor which is why I make unscheduled visits to his class. Oh, you misunderstood, I meant that the minutes on the IEP are minimum minutes, but I don’t understand the district’s six day schedule, and my schedule is such that I cannot make scheduled visits to your child.”

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Charter Schools

There is a lot of talk recently about charter schools at the national level. It will be some time before we know what, if anything, might change at the national level regarding charter schools. However, it is important to understand the current status of charter schools in Texas.

Since 2005, Texas law has allowed charter schools. They are run by a variety of organizations, including some public schools. They receive state funds based on student attendance like public schools, but do not collect property taxes. They cannot charge tuition, so they have less funds per student than public schools.

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Monitoring Progress: Questions Parents Should Ask & Discuss

Keeping up on a student’s progress towards meeting their IEP goals can save valuable time. Be sure that you know how each goal will be monitored and when instructional changes should be made.

Regarding Strengths & Weaknesses

ASK: What do you see as my child’s strengths, weaknesses– academically, behaviorally, and socially?

DISCUSS: Your own thoughts about their strengths, weaknesses, interests, what motivates your child, what behaviors you see at home, and how your child feels about him/herself as a learner.

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May a report card refer to an IEP or a plan for providing services under Section 504?

May a report card identify special education being provided for that student or otherwise indicate that the student has a disability? For instance, may the report card refer to an IEP or a plan for providing services under Section 504?

Report cards indicate a child’s progress or level of achievement in specific classes, course content, or curriculum.  Consistent with this purpose, it would be permissible under Section 504 and Title II for a report card to indicate that a student is receiving special education or related services as long as the report card informs parents about their child’s progress or level of achievement in specific classes, course content, or curriculum.  For instance, a report card for a student with a disability may refer to an IEP or may refer to a plan for providing services under Section 504.

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How Does Mastery of Annual Goals Relate to Grading and Promotion?

TEC §28.0216 requires that school district grading policies:

“(1) must require a classroom teacher to assign a grade that reflects the students’ relative mastery of an assignment; [and]

(2) may not require a classroom teacher to assign a minimum grade for an assignment without regard to the student’s quality of work.”

These rules apply to classroom assignments, examinations, and overall grades for each grading period. Because of this, teachers may not assign a grade based on effort, and schools cannot pass a student who has not mastered the curriculum. Since goals can be either academic or functional in nature, they either serve as a “link” to grade level standards, or they serve to help a student “access” grade-level standards. In this case, IEP goals remain supplementary to grade-level standards. Because of this, mastery of an IEP goal does not constitute passing a course, and passing a course does not equate to mastering an IEP goal.

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Si un estudiante recibe instrucción en el entorno del salón de recursos, ¿Las calificaciones se determinan con base en el progreso hacia sus metas del IEP o en el progreso hacia el dominio del plan de estudios?

Todos los estudiantes son estudiantes de educación general primero que nada. Para todos los estudiantes en el estado de Texas de los grados K-12, los estándares estatales son los TEKS. La colocación educativa de un estudiante no cambia los estándares del plan de estudios. Los estudiantes deben obtener calificaciones por las actividades a través de las cuales están accediendo a los estándares.

La colocación en la que un estudiante recibe servicios no tiene relación con las calificaciones que recibe. El dominio relativo del TEKS, con o sin adaptaciones o modificaciones, es la base para calificar a un estudiante.

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Quote of the Day

“Congress recognized that the students were not failing — the schools were failing the students. And all through the 1997 IDEA Amendments, Congress demands that schools begin to do what they have promised that they would do for the past 22 years when they first starting taking the IDEA dollars — to offer students with disabilities a chance at learning what the schools routinely offer to students without disabilities.”

Reed Martin, Attorney


6 Tips to Make Sure Your Child’s 504 Plan Is Being Followed

Your child’s 504 plan has been set in motion. Is the school delivering what it promised? Use these tips from Understood.org to monitor the situation throughout the year.

Know who’s providing your child’s services.

The 504 plan should state not only what special services your child will receive but also the name of the person is responsible for it. Try casually asking your child, “Have you worked with Mr. Jones this week?” Your child’s answer may tell you a little—or a lot—about how well the 504 plan is being followed.

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Comments that Parents Hear: “We have held __ IEP meetings this year. Your child is progressing with the current IEP, so we do not need another meeting.”

Recall the Law

The IEP must include “a statement of the program modifications or supports for school personnel that will be provided to enable the child— (i) To advance appropriately toward attaining the annual goals;  (ii) To be involved in and make progress in the general education curriculum in accordance with paragraph (a)(1) of this section, and to participate in extracurricular and other nonacademic activities;”  300.320(a)(4)

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