Over the past year, I’ve received lots of questions about my progress monitoring tools for speech-language pathologists, so today, I’d like to answer some of them!
What progress monitoring tools do you currently have available?
I have three for articulation – the first covers CH, F, G, K, L, L blends, S, S blends, SH, TH, V, and Z, while the second focuses on R, R Blends, and Vocalic R, and the third covers the early developing sounds of B, D, M, N, P, T, and W – as well as one for phonology. There are also two levels each (lower for preschool through around first grade, and upper for around second to eighth grades) for grammar (lower and upper) and language (lower and upper). You can purchase them individually, or in a bundle for 20% off the individual prices.
How did you come up with the idea for these progress monitoring tools?
In 2014, my area of the country got completely slammed by horrible winter weather – lots of snow and subzero temperatures – which translated into 12 snow days in January and February alone!
With two weeks off for Christmas break right before that, I hadn’t seen the majority of my students more than once or twice in over a month, and I had no idea if they had retained any of the progress we had made in the fall.
I knew I wanted something that I could use not only in that instance, but also throughout the year to see how my students were doing. I knew I needed it to be something that had different stimulus items than what I used normally in therapy, because I didn’t want specific practice with those items to interfere with measurement of overall progress. I looked online for ANYTHING similar to what I was thinking of, but couldn’t find any products that were even close. So I ended up making my own!
The first progress monitoring tool I created was the largest one for articulation, followed by the one for R. I quickly realized that I could take the same principle to create tools to progress monitor in other areas of speech-language therapy, and went from there!
How long did your progress monitoring tools take you to complete?
It depends, because each one is a little different. For example, my articulation ones follow the same format and don’t take as much planning of creative material as the language ones, but take many hours to find and download the pictures that correspond with each target word/phrase/sentence I want to use. My progress monitoring tools have taken me anywhere between 20 and 80 hours to create. (The lower and upper level language ones have been the most time consuming!)
How should I use progress monitor?
For continuing students and monitoring goals that I wrote, I use my tools about 4-5 times per year to screen progress with those particular goals. I find it helpful to progress monitor a week or so before I need to write progress reports, which is every 9 weeks in my district. (I also take data during my regular sessions with students on my weekly data sheets.)
Here’s an example of a kindergarten phono student that I screened towards the beginning of the year and right before 2nd quarter progress reports (check out that progress – yay!):
I also use them whenever I get a new student that moves in – it helps me figure out where the student is at with their previous goals, or if I need to write new goals (and which ones to write!).
Additionally, I like to screen right before a student’s annual IEP meeting is due, to have a better picture of overall strength and weakness areas. This gives me great information to write into the “present levels” section of the IEP, as well as have something easy to pull out to bring to the meeting to show parents about what we’ve been working on in therapy.
How do I progress monitor when I have a large group of students with me all at the same time?
I try to find independent work (such as from my monthly homework packets) to keep my other students occupied while I am progress monitoring with one student at my table. I’ll give them a clipboard and let them sit in my comfy chair or stretch out on the floor while I’m progress monitoring at my table or desk. When I’m ready for the next student, I have the students switch places. If you have large groups, it may take two sessions to get through each student’s goals.
How do I make sure that my students don’t “learn” the stimulus items?
For one, it is important to make sure you aren’t using the tools every week. I have found that in waiting about 9 weeks in between administrations makes it so most of my students won’t really remember the stimulus items. Also, I deliberately chose targets that are different than all of my regular therapy materials. There might be a slight bit of overlap, but you aren’t going to be drilling only the ten stimulus words for initial /l/ that are found in my articulation tool in your therapy sessions, if that makes sense.
Can teachers/aides/parents use the progress monitoring tools?
How should I store the progress monitoring tools?
It’s up to you, but I like to store mine in individual binders in sheet protectors. I find it easier to just pull the one I need off my shelf. I keep each section separate by using plastic binder dividers that have pockets, in which I store extra copies of that section’s record sheet.
Some people have told me they store them all in one binder. I also think you could bind each one separately (either with a binding machine or at a facility such as Staples) or together and have it work well.
I also have a few buyers that only print out the record forms, and keep the PDF on their iPad to use whenever needed.
Should I use the lower or upper level for my student?
This is where you will need to use your clinical judgment. I often have second graders that I am not quite sure of their skills – so what I will often do is administer both the lower level and upper level language screenings for my students to see where the problem areas are, and go from there. You may have a fourth grader that is working on a first grade level – in that case, I would use the lower level. Sometimes I use parts from both the lower and upper levels for a student.
I have students in high school, but your progress monitoring tools are only marked for up to 8th grade. Can I still use them with my students?
If your students are still receiving speech-language therapy in high school, then they likely exhibit difficulty in the areas that my tools measure. If their goals match up to what is assessed in my progress monitoring tools, then I’d definitely use them!
What if I need to progress monitor something your tools don’t cover?
The biggest key is that you want to take data on what the student can do independently, NOT with your cues! Take 5 or 10 trials at the beginning of the session (perhaps using a set of flashcards you have handy), and DON’T review beforehand.
Want to try a free sample?
Check out this free add-on for progress monitoring the /dg/ sound!