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Measuring progress in the classroom

You’ll notice the difference that a ‘notice and adjust’ approach makes straight away, but it is also important that progress is celebrated and shared. Making the changes and improvements transparent and celebrating them will foster pride amongst staff and students; help parents engage positively with your school; and even inspire other schools. Keeping stakeholders informed is also important in terms of the accountability and transparency mandated under the Government’s Crusade for Literacy and Numeracy.  


In general, effective monitoring and tracking of dyslexic learners should be based on an awareness of what is “expected progress” for each individual student set against a profile of strengths, weaknesses and learning preferences.

The concept of expected progress is based upon a range of measures, including comparing performance across a range of subjects and skills to identify ‘unexpected difficulties in relation to ability’ in some areas compared with ability appropriate performance in other subjects. If a student is 12 months behind with reading/spelling, making a ‘month’s gain in a month’ does not impact on the learning gap so the challenge is to intervene to better close the gap and demonstrate real progress. It is also important to identify ability appropriate achievement in other subjects which may not be so heavily dependent upon literacy skills.

It is important, though, not to pursue progress in reading accuracy blindly, at the expense of the wider, comprehension based skills which have their foundation in thinking, reasoning and a pragmatic understanding of the world.  We need to be aware of the tipping point when the pursuit of accuracy becomes subject to the law of diminishing returns – this is when time invested in teaching accuracy yields less and less progress, especially as students become older.  At this point time may be better spent on developing the skills of  functional literacy, recognising that ability appropriate accuracy may be less important than learning to read and think between and beyond the lines.

In the latest Guide, you’ll find links to some specific guidelines for measuring and tracking progress found in Neil Mackay’s UK Quality Mark materials – take a look at these on our 4D downloads page.



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