Monitoring, evaluating, and reporting student progress is certainly not a new idea, yet in the Response to Intervention (RtI) model, it gets lots of attention. For sure, we all must use data to inform and support "grades" and "descriptions" of students. For certain, we must use data to inform and support our decisions about supporting learners.
For RtI Tier 2, I use ongoing formative assessments (every session) and curriculum based measures at least twice a month. (Some researchers recommend weekly assessments for monitoring student progress, Fuchs, 1989.) I use structure assessments, such as the Fountas and Pinnell Benchmark Assessment System subtests, at least every six weeks to determine if I am really supporting needs, or if I need to decrease (Tier 1) or increase support (Tier 3).I look to ongoing data collection in my own school as well as the work of Fountas and Pinnell to determine if the "cut points" are valid and strong determinations of students' learning.
My own personal goal, right now, it so look beyond my own data and interface with other RtI providers to talk about their data collection and management of students. While the RtI model certainly challenges us to look at progress short term support (and not just "keep" kids in support September-June based on a "test" score), it also encourages and emposers us to look at data in brave new ways - the RtI way.