The Difference Between Progress Monitoring and Monitoring Progress

January 31, 2024

Many classrooms spend a significant amount of time grading, scaffolding, remediating, accelerating, intervening -- all the ‘ing’ words. But how do you know what’s working and what isn’t? This is where monitoring progress and Progress Monitoring comes into play. However, we often see confusion about the difference between formal Progress Monitoring and monitoring progress. Both are important and accomplish different objectives.

The biggest difference between Progress Monitoring and monitoring progress is that the former is independent of any curriculum and the latter is wholly embedded in classroom instruction.

Formal Progress Monitoring

Formal Progress Monitoring is used to evaluate the effectiveness of interventions. For it to be valid and reliably measured, there must be a standardized process of evaluating progress. Curriculum Based Measures (CBMs), a repeated measurement of performance using equated probes, are the most widely used Progress Monitoring assessments. Educators use weekly and bi-weekly probes of specific skills to measure rates of improvement or progress toward a performance target.

Students receiving tiered intervention services should be participating in formal Progress Monitoring. It’s a key component of any Multi-Tiered Systems of Support (MTSS) or Response to Intervention (RTI) program. Additionally, Special Educators often use formal Progress Monitoring to track and document students’ progress toward academic IEP goals and objectives.

Progress Monitoring is critical in determining if the currently selected intervention is working or whether adjustments to the intervention are required. This data is used with other forms (academic, social-emotional, observations, etc.) to determine tier movement, additional testing requirements, and if intensive services are needed, such as academic accommodations. The more synthesized this data can be, the easier it is to interpret and track student progression from year to year.

Monitoring Student Progress

Monitoring student progress is a routine part of teaching. The goal is for all your students to achieve grade-level proficiency. You’re collecting data on your students daily, whether it’s performance-driven or observational data. Monitoring progress this way accomplishes several things, including:

-Helping you determine whether lessons are practical within tier 1
-Identifying opportunities to provide scaffolding, remediation, and enrichment
-Determine whether struggling students need more intensive supports

Taking Action on Progress Monitoring Data

Compiling PM data

Both forms of monitoring are essential. However, we can all agree that it's the action you take on the data that has the impact. Your Progress Monitoring tool should make that simpler!

For example, Classworks automatically assigns each student the exact instruction they need based on their weekly progress monitoring data. Imagine the time saved by not having to search for the exact instruction each student needs to close gaps, especially when those gaps are on a variety of grade levels.  

Learn more about Classworks
To learn more about Classworks Progress Monitoring or how we help schools simplify their tiered intervention processes, chat with us or email

P.S. We think you'll like this free resource on Adopting Compliant Progress Monitoring.

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