Why is progress monitoring in behavior important what information does progress monitoring provide that is different from screening data and diagnostic data?

Question: Why is progress monitoring in behavior important what information does progress monitoring provide that is different from screening data and diagnostic data

Answer: So let’s start with the first question, “Why is progress monitoring in behavior important?” To answer that question you have to first start by talking about behavior and your goals for change around behavior. Behavior is very different than academics, where in academics we might say our goal is to have a child be able to read fluently. In behavior our targets change substantially and could vary based on intensity, duration, or frequency of the behavior. So for example, you might have a behavior change goal of not getting homework done or that might be the behavior problem or it might be intense yelling out or walking around the classroom inappropriately. So there is no singular behavior target and no singular goal with regards to what you are trying to do with that behavior change. It might be that you are just trying to reduce the variability so the intensity of that yelling out, or it might be that you are trying to get to 90 percent of homework done. So when you talk about why is progress monitoring in behavior important, I would argue that progress monitoring is actually the most critical assessment purpose in behavior and behavior change, because the tools you are picking have to match flexibly to answer those questions around “is behavior changing.” And when you mix the, “is the behavior changing?” in with “what are the supports that I am putting into place?” you are actually answering, “is it working for the defined problem?”

The second question is, “How does progress monitoring provide information that differs from screening or diagnostic data?” And again that answer goes back to having very different purposes of the assessment or different answers based on what you are asking. When you are asking about behavior screening you are trying to answer questions about who needs help or how big is the gap between what we are expecting from a student and what they are actually exhibiting now. When you are asking diagnostic assessment or that you are getting information that is diagnostic, you are getting information that helps answer why is it occurring and more detail around what’s happening in that behavior. Those pieces inform directions for the intervention or the intervention supports that you are going to put in place. In contrast, the progress monitoring data tells us is it working. When you take all that information you put it together to try something, you are answering or you are using data in progress monitoring to say “is it working?”And when you are answering if it is working, the progress monitoring data have to be repeatable, so you have to be able to capture it on more than one occasion, you have to know that it is efficient for us to collect and it has to be defensible. And then returning back to the original point around progress monitoring behavior, it has to be flexible. So our tools have to be able to match the behaviors and they are going to be different based on what is of interest. So if you go back to our original question about yelling out or walking around, yelling out might be an appropriate behavior to do at a football game, right? Or walking around is certainly something that you are  looking for if your goals are to increase physical fitness but it is dependent on the contexts, so those might not be ok if you are in the general classroom. And the only way that you can say if something is working is if you have progress monitoring. And that is again the reason why I would say that progress monitoring in behavior becomes probably the most critical data source for informing directions of where you are going. 

Developed By: 
National Center on Intensive Intervention