Toddler plays a stacking game with an adult while on a Resonance BoardTeams need to document skills in the IEP and may also track skills not specifically noted in a learner’s IEP goals. Here is what the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act says about documenting student progress on goals:

Documenting student progress is a requirement of IDEA.

IDEA states that each child’s IEP must contain:

(3) A description of—

(i) How the child’s progress toward meeting the annual goals described in paragraph (2) of this section will be measured; and

(ii) When periodic reports on the progress the child is making toward meeting the annual goals (such as through the use of quarterly or other periodic reports, concurrent with the issuance of report cards) will be provided…[§300.320(a)(3)]

This means that specific skills that are included in the IEP must be measured through periodic reports, report cards and review as part of the IEP meeting. This information informs the IEP team about the effectiveness of their instruction.

If no progress is being made, it might be that the skill(s) targeted in the goal is not appropriate for the learner. It might also mean that the instructional strategies that are being used simply aren’t working. It also might indicate regression which could occur as a result of things like medical issues or emotional challenges. If the student demonstrates the skill in only one environment or activity and nowhere else, perhaps the other learning environments or activities need tweaking in some way. The team might need to go back to the Dynamic Learning Circle to evaluate how the student is performing in each activity.  Are the materials catching his attention? Are they motivating and arousing his curiosity? Has the student become bored or has the student habituated to the activity?  What can be done to slightly change the materials or activities and introduce an element of novelty?  Good documentation can help the team with all these situations.

It is also important to develop goals and benchmarks appropriately. Make sure that these are written clearly so that everyone knows the exact skills you are focused on during instruction.  For example, "Joey will use a visually directed reach" references a specific skill that should be demonstrated. "Joey will use a LIttle Room", does not specify a skill.  If you would like to learn more about writing appropriate goals and objectives you may want to review Goals and Benchmarks that Reflect Active Learning on this website.

Benchmarks (or objectives) take the goal for the school year and breaks it down into much smaller steps. Children who need Active Learning typically are slow to make progress, and the smaller benchmarks help to chart these important little steps they make. These steps are invaluable in documenting progress. They also serve to help the team evaluate instruction so they don't waste time on activities that are not helping the learner make progress. Diagnostic teaching tied to ongoing progress monitoring allows the team to make adjustments to the program quickly as the need arises.

Benchmarks indicate a clear timetable throughout the year for reviewing progress.  Below is an example of a goal and benchmarks. Note the monthly timeline indicated in each benchmark that will hopefully lead to achieving the goal by the end of the school year.

Goal: Physical Therapy

By the end of the school year the student will reach and grasp a variety of preferred objects without being prompted using a palmar grasp when placed in specific learning environments (i.e. Little Room, near a Position Board, on a Resonance Board) during independent play and during adult-child interactions with the adult using the techniques of offering and imitation at least 10 times during a 15 minute observation period through weekly observations conducted by staff.

Benchmarks or Objectives Examples:

  1. By October, during independent play in the Little Room or with a Position Board containing graspable objects, the student will reach and use a palmer grasp to attain objects at least 5 times during a weekly 15 minute observation.

  2. By November, during adult-child interactions on a Resonance Board using the techniques of offering and imitation, the child will independently reach and grasp various preferred graspable objects at least 5 times during a 15 minute weekly observation period.

  3. By December, during a weekly group activity, when offered graspable objects when the object is held or positioned so that it just touches the child’s body or within reach of a child’s independent movement, the student will reach and grasp the items at least 5 times during a 15 minute observation period.

  4. By March, during independent play in the Little Room and with a Position Board utilizing graspable objects, the student will reach and use a palmer grasp to attain objects at least 10 times during a weekly 15 minute observation.

  5. By April, during adult-child interactions on a Resonance Board using the techniques of offering and imitation, the child will independently reach and grasp various preferred graspable objects at least 10 times during a 15 minute weekly observation period.

  6. By May, during a weekly group activity, when the object is held or positioned so that it just touches the child’s body or within reach of a child’s independent movement, the student will reach and grasp the items at least 10 times during a 15 minute observation period.

A Form for Documenting Progress in IEP Goals and Benchmarks

We encourage that progress documentation be tied to IEP goals and benchmarks (objectives) when using Active Learning. You may want to review information about how to write goals related to Active Learning that can be found in the Program Planning section of the Active Learning Space website. 

We created a form to use for this type of progress reporting. This form can be used to look at progress toward specific goals and benchmarks. An example of how this form could be used is seen below and you may download a blank form for your use. Tally marks are made when the student demonstrates the skill noted in the goal or benchmark in each of the activities or environments used with the student.

It will help the team see how well various learning environments and strategies are working for the student.  For example, if a student is demonstrating a particular skill when in independent play, but not demonstrating it during adult-child interactions, the team might want examine the educational treatment they are using during these interactions.  Emotionally the child may not be ready to share an interaction, so the adult might shift to the treatment of offering and imitation.

This form also allows the team to make note of new and emerging skills that are not targeted in the IEP specifically. These might be skills that are seen randomly during activities.  You may also want to make note of skills that the child has but needs opportunities to practice.

 Below is an example of how this might look.

Environments or Activities    

Goal/Objective or Skills Child Should Demonstrate

# Observed

Other Skills to Watch For        

# Observed

Kicking using Essef Board while in a hammock swing.

Positioned in a hammock swing, HOPSA Dress, special chair, or on the floor in supine during independent and interactive play STUDENT will kick with his legs/feet to produce sounds when provided a variety of materials during independent and interactive play at least 10 times within a 15 minute observation period.

||||      

Sitting unsupported

Vocalizing

Listening and experimenting with sounds

Making contact with adult through touch and/or vocalization

| - vocalizing to get adult attention

Kicking using an Essef Board and tray of materials while seated.

|||

Sitting unsupported Vocalizing

Listening and experimenting with sounds

Making contact with adult through touch and/or vocalization

||| - vocalizing

Kicking in water during footbath while in the HOPSA Dress.

|||| ||

Vocalizing

Listening and experimenting with sounds

Making contact with adult through touch and/or vocalization

III - vocalizing

|| - vocalizing for contact with adult

Little Room

When given a variety of materials in several different learning environments during independent and interactive play (e.g. Little Room, Snack time) that are appropriate for mouthing and tasting STUDENT will actively bring things to his mouth and/or explore with lips and tongue at least three times during a 15 minute observation time.

||||

Use of hands to scratch and poke

Hands/fingers to mouth

Vocalizing

Making contact with adult through touch and/or vocalization

||- batting

III - vocalizing 

Adult-child interaction during snack and sensory play on a Resonance Board

||

Use of hands to scratch, poke or bat

Hands/fingers to mouth

Vocalizing

Making contact with adult through touch and/or vocalization

|| batting

||| - vocalizing

II - vocalizing to make contact

I - touch to make contact

Position Board or Tray, Water or Sand Table

When given visually preferred (green, blue, shiny) objects on a position board or in a tray, water table or sand table, STUDENT will use a visually directed reach to make contact with desired object at least 2 times within a 15 minute observation period.

|

Grasp and release

Batting

Scratching

II - batting

Support Bench with materials in containers

When placed in a prone position using a Support Bench STUDENT will extend one arm to reach preferred objects in containers at least 5 times within a 15 minute period.

|

Grasp and release

Batting

Scratching

Vocalizing

Making contact with adult through touch and/or vocalization

III - vocalizing

I - grasp & release 

III -scratching movement

Little Room and Resonance Board

In a variety of learning environments in both independent and interactive play when given objects that make a  preferred sound STUDENT will reach out towards sound producing objects at least 5 times during a 15 minute observation period.

||||

Grasp and release

Vocalizing

Making contact with adult through touch and/or vocalization

|||| - vocalizing

II - vocalizing to make contact

 goals collage