Case Studies

Video: Maren Hadley discusses use of progress monitoring data.

The following are a series of examples including two students, Crystal and Henry.

Part 1. The first set of examples focuses on assessment and the progressive use of progress monitoring data.

Example 1

Crystal, a fourth grader who is deaf, is reading at the 3.5 grade level but her teacher thinks she should be “doing better”. At the first quarterly review meeting, the teacher expresses concern that Crystal may not be able to “keep up” with her hearing peers. 

Henry, a second grader who is hard of hearing, is having difficulty meeting criteria in the reading curriculum. His classroom teacher does not want him to move to the next set of reading materials until he meets the performance criteria in the phonemic awareness and sound-letter identification level. Henry has been working at this level for 16 weeks with minimal progress.

Should the teacher of the deaf provide instruction to Crystal or Henry? What progress monitoring strategies would you use with Crystal or Henry?


Example 2

Crystal’s teacher gives Crystal 3rd and 4th grade CBM Maze probes. The teacher uses 3rd grade level probes to monitor Crystal’s weekly reading growth. The teacher uses the 4th grade level probe to screen Crystal’s performance and to compare Crystal to her 4th grade peers.

Henry’s teacher uses pre-reading measures. The measures are Letter Identification, Letter-Sound Identification, Nonsense- Word Production, and Initial Phoneme Identification.

How will the data be used to address the problem?

Answer: The data will be used to quantify the difference between what it is and what we think it should be.


Example 3

Using the data displayed on a graph, Crystal’s teacher shows that her current reading performance level is lower than her fourth grade peers. Crystal’s current reading performance is also lower than the district benchmarks for 4 graders. Crystal’s teacher identifies a set goal for Crystal at the end of the school year.

Henry’s progress monitoring graphs and mastery of letter-sound identification indicate that he is significantly behind his classroom peers. Henry’s teacher sets an ambitious and realistic goal for Henry at the end of 8 weeks.

How can the progress monitoring data be used to make instructional changes?

Answer: Identify alternative hypotheses (Maybe if we tried…?)


Example 4

Crystal’s teacher meets with the child study team and discusses Crystal’s discrepant performance in reading and describes what interventions she has tried in the past with Crystal. The team agrees to try adding more instruction time by having Crystal work 1-on-1 with a special education assistant for 20 minutes a day. 

Henry’s teacher reviews various evidence-based interventions for beginning readers. She selects a supplemental curriculum that has less emphasis on auditory discrimination and decides to try it with Henry.

How can progress monitoring data be used to determine if instructional changes are effective?

Answer: Monitor fidelity of intervention and progress monitoring data collection (CBM).


Example 5

Crystal’s teacher continues to monitor her progress using CBM Maze procedures. She records Crystal’s scores and the start date of the additional instruction time. The teacher and the SEA record the days and times of the sessions with Crystal, to establish treatment fidelity.

Henry’s teacher continues to monitor Henry’s progress using word identification and initial phoneme identification. She keeps a record of when she started her selected intervention and the day-to-day intensity and duration of the implemented intervention.

How do we know the intervention is implemented?

Answer: Re-quantify the differences.


Example 6

Crystal’s D/HH teacher meets with the classroom teacher to review Crystal’s graphs and to determine if Crystal’s level of discrepant performance has changed relative to her classmates since the implementation of additional instruction. 

Henry’s teacher graphs his scores and visually analyzes the graph to determine if Henry is making adequate progress toward his 8-week goal.

How do we know the intervention is effective?

Answer: The instructional goal has been met.

Part 2

The second set of examples uses an evaluation approach, using a different set of questions to review the progress monitoring data.


Example 1

Crystal’s teacher has data that suggests that Crystal is lagging behind her peers in reading and is not “catching up.” Crystal’s teacher and her IEP team are concerned about Crystal falling further behind if the problem is not addressed early.

Henry’s teacher says that Henry is not progressing in his phonemic awareness and letter-sound identification skills. Henry’s peers have mastered these areas and are using a different set of materials. Henry’s teacher is feeling frustrated about Henry’s low rate of progress.

Does the problem exist?


Example 2

As a student with a hearing loss, Crystal is progressing in reading, but is at risk for falling further behind her peers as material and demands become more challenging over time.

Henry, who is hard of hearing, likely needs extra support in receiving auditory-based instruction and learning auditory-based information. His teacher sees him lagging behind his peers in acquiring essential reading skills and this gap will not change if his current instruction or programming is not effective.

Is the problem important?


Example 3

Crystal’s teacher considers Crystal’s past and current instructional experience and discusses with the child study team a variety of options to adjust Crystal’s current programming. The teacher feels that Crystal has potential to “catch up” if she had more direct instruction time.

Henry’s teacher thinks that her instructional reading strategies are effective for most of her students, but she knows that a different strategy needs to be considered for Henry. She wants to use an intervention that has evidence supporting its use in the classroom. She will choose one and monitor its effectiveness in promoting Henry’s pre-reading growth.

What is the best means to address the problem? What are the best instructional strategies/ interventions to address the problem?


Example 4

Crystal’s D/HH teacher looks her progress monitoring graphs with the classroom teacher. They decide that Crystal’s rate of progress has improved since the additional instructional time was implemented. His initial phoneme identification skills have not progressed.

Henry’s teacher reviews his progress monitoring graphs and sees that Henry is progressing in word identification at a faster rate since the new intervention was implemented.  His initial phoneme identification skills have not progressed.

Is the instructional intervention we are using increasing the student’s progress as planned?

Example 5

Crystal’s rate of progress has improved and the gap between Crystal and her peers is closing. Crystal’s teacher is happy with the rate of growth, and will continue to have Crystal receive additional instructional time.

Henry is progressing with the new intervention, but hoped that his rate of progress would be higher. She will continue to monitor Henry before making a new decision.

Is the original problem being solved through the intervention?