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Infant Toddler Development Training
Module 3, Lesson 4

Purposes for Monitoring Progress in Early Intervention

Monitoring is essential for documenting changes in children over time, progress over time, and the appropriateness of interventions (Wolery, 2000, 2004). Yet according to Raver (2003), teachers always seem to have reasons for not monitoring their teaching and children's progress. Comments are heard such as "monitoring takes too much time, I don't have time to collect the data, I have too many children to keep track of," or "I have the data but I don't have time to transfer the information to the recording sheets". Certainly collecting data to make instructional decisions and determine progress is time consuming but well worth the time. The problem becomes more compounded when infants and toddlers are being served in the home or community based child care facilities.

The ITDS is happy for the parent or community based child care teacher to implement the activity but are often reluctant to ask them to record the data on a day to day basis. Perhaps one of the reasons for the low rate of recording data is the absence of a systematic method for keeping track of children's individual skills. Without a systematic approach to data collection providers will not collect the necessary data they need to report to parents, alter their own intervention, or move on to a new skill once the child has met the criteria.

Ways to Monitor Progress

The ITDS may monitor progress through a variety of strategies. Curriculum based measures such as the AEPS, HELP, or ELAP include their own monitoring forms embedded into the assessment process. The ITDS can also monitor through the use of a matrix, anecdotal records, narrative recordings, portfolios, checklists, and interval behavior sampling. Many of these methods were previously discussed in Lesson 2, with the exception of portfolios (described below). Additionally, directions for developing a matrix are included here.

Directions for Developing a Monitoring Form

  1. Develop a matrix with a column for the objective, schedule, activity/material/progress data, and comments.
  2. Down the left hand column of the matrix, list the objectives and criteria for accomplishing the objective.
  3. In the second cell from the left, write the time in the daily schedule in which an interventionist or parents might embed the objective. In the case of a center based child care program include times like center time, arrival, departure, snack etc. In the case of the home, include times such as going for a walk, going to the grocery store, visiting grandmother or going to the playground. You may include the exact time of day.
  4. In the third cell from the left, briefly describe the activity. The example in Figure 1 will give you some ideas.
  5. In the fourth cell from the left on the matrix, indicate the child's progress on the particular skill.
  6. In the fifth cell from the left, include a place in which you might write comments.
  7. Include a key at the bottom of the matrix to monitor the child's progress in meeting the objective.
  8. The matrix may not include all of the objectives on the child's IFSP but at least includes those that are feasible to accomplish in a week. The next week the objectives might change based on the progress of the child, his ability to accomplish the objectives and other factors which might affect his performance (e.g. illness).

Figure 2: Activity/Routine/Objective Matrix for Carlos is provided as a sample matrix for you to review.

Use of Portfolios by the ITDS to Monitor Progress

Child painting with fatherPortfolios are a collection of a child's work and data from informal performance assessments to evaluate development and progress (Wortham, 2005). There are some who feel that portfolios are not appropriate for infants and toddlers. If one is thinking in terms of portfolio usage from the perspective of school age children, they are correct. However, portfolio's are appropriate for children birth to three, particularly toddlers. Portfolios are a collection of artifacts, information and data which can be used to monitor the progress that children make in meeting the objectives set forth by the IFSP. Portfolios are created by adults working with the children and organized by developmental domains rather than content areas.

For young children a portfolio may include photographs, checklists of skills that children have achieved, monitoring forms, social play records, anecdotal records, scribbles and drawings, early attempts at painting, transcriptions of language samples, and a variety of other things to document progress. The portfolio can be used to communicate with parents in a meaningful way what the child is doing, what he has done and the progress that he has made over time. In addition, the portfolio is an authentic form of assessment which communicates the types of activities that the child is engaged in and provides documentation of ways that he is growing and learning. In Activity 5 you will have an opportunity to view two portfolio entries.


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