Special Ed Teachers: Progress Monitoring Made Easy with Google Drive!

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There is Never Enough Time!

I have found a solution that makes life a thousand times easier. It may require a bit more work in the beginning of the year, but once this is in place it can save hours worth of your precious time throughout the year.

As a learning-support special-education teacher, I have often found there is never enough time in the day to get everything done that I need to complete. Like so many other special education teachers, my days at work have been chaotic and exhausting. With a full load of 5 classes per day, and at least 2 to 3 separate courses to cover, I constantly found myself struggling to keep up. My students demanded constant attention and engagement. My lessons, therefore, needed to be well planned, and I needed to always be on guard: sometimes because my students were violent, sometimes because my students were so easily distracted that I needed to plan every single minute of a class period to make sure they stayed on track and ultimately learned something.

I always felt that every single second of my day was consumed with something to do, and I always worried that something would get missed

With lesson plans to write, classes to teach, papers to grade, hall duty, lunch duty, detentions, and the unplanned outbursts of students requiring a crisis-level intervention occurring on the regular, my days have always been full. To complicate matters, there have been years when I have carried a caseload of 15 – 20 special-education students. This meant I had 20 IEPs to write, usually at least 10 reevaluations (and another IEP for each one), behavior plans, behavior assessments, IEP meetings to conduct, and revisions to draft whenever something changed. With that comes countless attempts to contact family members by phone, email, letter, smoke signals, and anything else I could think of. I always felt that every single second of my day was consumed with something to do, and I always worried that something would get missed, which is a terrible scenario for a special-education teacher because missed deadlines or services can land us in due process and sued resulting in the loss of our job and the many wonderful responsibilities that go with it. But each marking period, right before report cards would be going out, I would always realize what it was I was forgetting. No matter how many times I tried to stay on top of it, I always found myself behind at the end of the marking period with no real data for the dreaded progress monitoring.

 What is Progress Monitoring?

Progress monitoring is the special-education teacher’s responsibility to track a student’s progress towards achieving a specific set of academic goals. The teacher is supposed to create goals (anywhere from 1 to 5) for each of their students. A goal may state that: “Given a passage at his reading level, Johnny will read the passage and answer 8 out 10 comprehension questions correctly on 4 consecutive attempts over a 9 week period.” An experienced special-education teacher most likely has a binder filled with resources that work great for progress monitoring, but often lacks the time to monitor the student, or if they were able to squeeze in a few probes or assessments, the data for those assessments is usually lost, shoved in a binder, or in a pile of 400 other assignments that now need to be sifted through. If the monitoring was not done, the teacher is then forced to review every assignment each student completed to determine if:

  1. Those assignments measure the above-goal, and
  2. What progress the student made on the goal.

The teacher then needs to document the progress in writing on a form to be sent to the parents. With 20 students each having 2 – 5 goals, and this needing to be done 4 times per year along with all of the other normal teacher stuff that occurs daily, as I said before: there simply isn’t enough time in the day.

Fortunately, I have found a solution that makes life a thousand times easier. It may require a bit more work in the beginning of the year, but once this is in place it can save hours worth of your precious time throughout the year. Once you create your form, you can send it via email to all of your students’ teachers. It takes minutes to complete and compiles all of your data in a single spreadsheet (per student).


Progress Monitoring Made Easy

Login or Create an Account

  1. If you have never created a Google Drive account, I highly suggest you stop what you are doing right now, and create one. You can start by clicking HERE. (Its free). Otherwise, log into your account.
    Sign Into Google Drive
    Sign Into Google Drive

    Create a Form

  2. On the main menu screen, click CREATE. From the dropdown menu, click FORM.

Create Form in Google Docs

Title Your Form

3. Enter a title for your form & select a background. (I usually name my title STUDENTS NAME, progress monitoring.

3 Background

Label You Question

4. Enter a question title – I usually label the type of goal here (reading, math, attendance, behavior, etc). Providing this label helps other teachers identify which questions they should answer.

4 Question Title

Add Your Goal

5. Copy your goal into the help text. (I put the whole goal here – minus the standards). “Given a set of problems, student will solve those problems correctly with 80% accuracy over a 9 week period…” This way I don’t have to refer to the IEP to see the parameters of the goal, and it saves me TIME.

5 Help Text

Select Question Type

6. For question type, I normally select “Paragraph Text.” It allows me to enter data/information in paragraph format. Play around with the options, because depending on the goal, some different choices may work better for you.

6 Paragraph Text

Signature Question & Comments

For my final question, I always ask who completed the form. This is a “Text” question type. (It gives less space to provide data since we only need a name). I also mark the final question as required. I do not make the goals mandatory questions, because I send this form to all teachers and usually only one goal applies to each teacher.

I create a general paragraph box for any additional comments as well. I often use this section for my own notes (which are then recorded with date & time in my spreadsheet.

7 Comments

Completing Your Form

7. After entering your data for each goal/question, click DONE.

8. Create as many goals/questions as you need by clicking Add Item.8 Add Item

Viewing Your Form

9. To view your live form (what your teachers/students will see), click “View Live Form” at the top of your screen:

10. To view your data, click on “View Responses.” It will generate a spreadsheet that records all of your data in one place. The form saves automatically, so even when you close it, it will be there the next time you access it. A the end of a quarter, it is really helpful to have all of your data in one place. It provides a central place where data from everyone who completed your form is stored.


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