The Bridge School
Course of Study

Elementary: Measure and Report Student Progress

It is the policy and practice of The Bridge School to have consistent measurement procedures in place for monitoring and reporting student progress. The data collected from ongoing student assessment brings focus and clarity to our preschool program, informs and organizes instruction for each student's overall program, and is a way to highlight, document, and report each student's learning outcomes. In this section we describe our process of monitoring and reporting progress. We also describe how we develop and share student portfolios.

Annual Individualized Education Plan (IEP) goals serve as content and performance markers for each student relative to a particular educational standard or skill area. Once the IEP team has developed appropriate annual goals for a given student, the educational team develops measurable intermediate steps, called benchmarks, which enable parents and educational teams to monitor progress during the school year. Benchmarks describe the amount of progress a student is expected to make within specified segments of the year. At The Bridge School, benchmarks are developed for guiding implementation of intervention, progress monitoring and reporting on a trimester basis or as otherwise stated in the IEP.

During the IEP process, appropriate team members are designated as having the primary responsibility for implementing each goal and for monitoring progress. The responsible team members design and implement a data collection system for each goal and identified benchmark. Each data sheet contains written procedures describing what information is to be collected, the data collection schedule, and which team members are responsible for collecting and reporting the data. Data is collected in the context of ongoing instruction during specified curricular activities. This process provides an authentic means for tracking progress and marking achievement of identified learning standards and IEP goals. Data is summarized on specified forms provided by each child's respective school district to be mailed to school district representatives and parents.

Sample data collection tool


Portfolios serve as a "container" that holds evidence of a student's skills, ideas, interests and accomplishments. The ultimate aim for using portfolios is to document the students' process toward becoming increasingly independent, self-directed learners. Over time, portfolios provide an authentic picture of each student's specific achievements across the curriculum and their progress toward IEP goals and benchmarks.

Portfolios allow our classroom staff to observe each student with his or her own unique set of characteristics, needs and strengths. Scanned copies of work samples, photographs, and video clips are archived to represent skills and knowledge targeted in IEP goals and active participation in grade-level curricular areas. We include photographs of student work samples that are not easily included in a portfolio such as a large painting, pictures of students as they work with classmates to complete a science experiment, videos of students moving in power wheelchairs and support walkers to access the curriculum or learning to use a speech generating device (SGD).

Any item that provides evidence of a student's achievement and growth can be included in a portfolio.

  • Examples of written work
  • Videotapes of student performance
  • Group projects and reports
  • Tests and quizzes
  • Charts, graphs
  • Lists of books read
  • Questionnaire results
  • Peer comments

Over time, portfolios can help our students become more accountable for the work they do in class and the skills and knowledge we are asking them to acquire. At the end of each school year, students present their portfolios at an all-school event to classmates, staff, parents, family members, friends, and members of our Board of Directors. They ask questions, engage in dialogue and provide feedback.

As students prepare work samples for their portfolios, they also have other opportunities to display and present their work to their peers, the staff and family members. These presentations encourage the students to describe their work, talk about the process of creating the work sample and respond to questions and comments from the audience. Some examples of student presentations include:

  • Author's Chair - a regularly scheduled class activity where each student sits in the Author's Chair and shares what they have written in the language arts activities for the week.
  • Meet the Author - students share a collection of their writing projects with parents, friends, peers and staff during Back to School day.
  • Self-Determination Share Out - students develop a range of personal materials as they work toward self-awareness and independence and share these with parents, friends, peers and staff during a Share Out Day at the end of the school year.

When students are ready to transition out of The Bridge School and back to their home school district placement, portfolios provide critical information to the receiving professional team.