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Continuous Monitoring / Charting of Student Performance


The goal of continuous monitoring and charting of student performance is twofold. First, it provides you, the teacher, information about student progress on discrete, short-term objectives. It enables you to adjust your instruction to review or re-teach concepts or skills immediately, rather than waiting until you've covered several topics to find out that one or more students didn't learn a particular skill or concept. Second, it provides your students with a visual representation of their learning. Students can become more engaged in their learning by charting and graphing their own performance.

What is it?

  • Continuous EVALUATION of student progress.
  • A visual representation of student progress.
  • A source of immediate feedback on a lesson's effectiveness
  • A diagnostic tool to guide instructional planning.
  • A communication device (with students, parents, administrators, other teachers).
  • An evaluation practice that can engage and motivate students.
  • Not an independent student practice activity.

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What are the critical elements of this strategy?

  • Assessment is frequent and assesses student understanding/performance of discrete math concepts/skills.
  • Assessment procedures can be replicated across several days.
  • Student responses can be tallied and represented in a chart or graph form.
  • Students are involved in plotting responses and setting goals.

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How do I implement the strategy?

  1. Determine a specific instructional objective (classify objects according to color, size, shape, pattern; add two digit numbers without regrouping, solve story problems with + and - fractions, select the relevant information in a story problem).
  2. Design a "curriculum slice" using the C-R-A assessment strategy (see Additional Information for an example of a curriculum slice below.) Choose appropriate items that accurately reflect the target math skill at the appropriate level of understanding (concrete, representational, abstract) and that can be administered in a short time period (perhaps a 1-3 minute timing). Include more items than you think the student can complete within the designated time period so that you get an accurate indication of their optimal performance.
  3. Administer and score the assessment.
  4. Have students plot incorrect and correct responses on a graph (see Additional Information for an example of a graph/chart).
  5. Discuss and draw goal lines on graph.
  6. Repeat process.
  7. Determine success of your instruction based on the "learning picture" depicted on the student's chart/graph (see Additional Information for examples of different learning pictures and what they mean).
  8. Make appropriate instructional decisions based on the student's learning picture.

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How Does This Instructional Strategy Positively Impact Students Who Have Learning Problems?

  • Provides immediate and visual demonstration of student performance, allowing students to concretely "see" their progress.
  • Engages students in setting goals and monitoring their performance.
  • Provides easily accessible and readily available information for teachers to use when making instructional decisions.
  • Ensures that concepts and skills that are not mastered can be identified and re-taught before moving forward in the curriculum.
  • Provides an effective way to communicate student performance and needs to other teachers and parents who may be working with the student.

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Additional Information

Research Support For The Instructional Features Of This Instructional Strategy: Allinder, Bolling, Oats, & Gagnon (2000); Calhoon and Fuchs (2003); Fuchs, Fuchs, Hamlett, Phillips, and Bentz (1994); Howell, Fox, & Morehead (1993); Mercer and Mercer (2005); Miller and Mercer (1993); Shafer (1998); Woodward and Howard (1994).

Important Components

Continuous daily assessments have three components -- timings, charting, and student folders.


  • Concrete level - students solve as many sums to 18 as they can in 3 minutes using Teddy Bear Counters or cubes.
  • Representational level - students solve sums to 18 using tallies or lines during 3-minute timings. ·
  • Abstract level - students solve sums to 18 during 1-minute timings.


  • Student plots correct and incorrect responses on the graph.
  • Goal lines are shown and the teacher and student discuss and set goals.

Student Folders

  • Individual student folders are kept.
  • Daily assessment graphs can be charted onto monthly graphs.

Example of Using Continuous Monitoring/Charting of Student Performance

The following shows a "curriculum slice," or assessment sheet as well as the graph of a student's continuous daily assessment. The assessment sheet shows 30, 2-digit addition without regrouping problems for a 1-minute probe. The student is asked to work the problems until the teacher tells him/her to stop. After the timing, the teacher can count total number of correct and incorrect sums, and can also tally the total correct/incorrect digits (numbers 10-60 on the right column of the paper). These tallies are recorded at the top of the sheet (C____ I ____). The student then graphs the correct and incorrect scores for the day of the timing. Student performance can be compared to goal lines and new goal lines drawn as needed.

Learning Pictures

Learning pictures or graphs provide concrete representation of a student's progress by displaying both the number of correct and the number of incorrect responses. Looking at changes in the level of performance, the slope or rate of change in a trend line, and the variability of performance for both correct and incorrect responses can help when analyzing a graph (Mercer & Mercer, 1998).

The learning picture displayed on the chart/graph in this picture provides several pieces of information that are helpful to a teacher when analyzing student performance and making instructional decisions.

In this picture, the number of incorrect responses is initially higher than the number of correct responses. Over the next several sessions, the number of correct responses increases from an initial level of 10 to a level of 25, while the number of incorrect responses gradually decreases (from 30 to 20). This information indicates that the student is making progress in mastering the skill.

Data for sessions 4-7 show continued increases in correct responses, but no accompanying decreases in incorrect responses. Indeed, incorrect responses seem to have become stable. The student is completing more problems and is getting more items correct, but the number of incorrect responses continues to be problematic. This is a clear signal that the teacher should evaluate the student's responses as well as instructional delivery. This picture may indicate that the student is rushing through the problems, not using a strategy correctly, or making careless errors. It may also be indicative of a gap in the student's knowledge. For instance, perhaps there are certain items (e.g. problems that contain 7 and 8 fact families) that the student is consistently missing. With this information, a teacher can provide instruction focused on this specific weakness.

The last 3 sessions (8-10) indicate the student's performance after an instructional change was made by the teacher. The learning picture now indicates that the student has reached optimal performance. The number of correct responses is consistently at the goal line and the number of incorrect responses has decreased to an acceptable level. The teacher's instructional change was effective! Periodic monitoring of this skill should be planned to ensure that this continues.

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