Preschool Program: 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 and how we use an outcome measurement tool, the Desired Results Developmental Profile (DRDP).
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 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.
Desired Results Developmental Profile (DRDP)
Twice each year, our preschool teachers and related service providers complete the Desired Results Developmental Profile (DRDP 2015) assessment for each preschool student. Assessment using the DRDP involves:
- Observing children over time to complete the assessment in the fall and spring.
- Collaborating with other service providers and families in gathering DRDP data.
- Submitting a Rating Record and Information Page to each student's respective school district for every child assessed as well as maintaining copies of all records.
The DRDP (2015) is an observational, curriculum-embedded instrument used to measure children's behavior while engaged in real-life tasks in natural environments versus in isolated adult-directed testing situations. The DRDP was developed with the goal of ensuring that all children have the opportunity to demonstrate their knowledge and skills. In doing so, this tool follows principles of universal design to allow for the use of assistive technologies (AT) during instruction as well as measurement. As a result, ratings of mastery on the DRDP are likely to be reflective of the typical behavior of each child across environments. The DRDP is made up of 56 items organized logically and sequentially under developmental constructs based on child development research and is aligned with all volumes of California Department of Education's Preschool Learning Foundations. This assessment tool allows for the use of adaptations that have been developed so that the DRDP assessment will more accurately measure a child's abilities rather than the impact of a child's disabilities. The results of the DRDP are reported to each child's school district two times per year.
Adaptations in the administration of the DRDP include the following considerations:
Acknowledging that children learn in different ways, the DRDP measurement tool incorporates a concept known as universal design for learning. Universal design refers to providing multiple approaches to learning in order to meet the needs of diverse learners. Information is provided to children in a variety of ways so the learning needs of all of the children are met.
Adaptations for Measurement with the DRDP (2015)
Preschoolers at The Bridge School learn and use combinations of natural and alternate ways (adaptations) to show what they know, prefer, can do, or what they are feeling. Adaptations, including the use of AT, allow teachers to provide multiple ways of learning and facilitate the measurement of children's abilities rather than their disabilities. For example, a child with a visual impairment may need additional lighting to see objects or text and will benefit from this change to the environment. Similarly, a child who communicates using an AAC device responds using an alternate response mode. Adaptations and AT serve essential purposes: to support each child's active participation and engagement across curricular activities and social interactions, to provide ways for children to gain more control of their environments, and to allow educational teams and families to observe and document areas of a child's abilities.
Adaptations that are in place during the normal course of the day and during observational measurement are documented in each child's IEP. Bridge School preschoolers often require extensive adaptations in most or all of these areas as defined by the DRDP:
- Augmentative or alternative communication system - Methods of communication other than speech that allow a child who is unable to use spoken language to communicate with others.
- Alternative Mode for Written Language - Methods of reading or writing used by a child who cannot see well enough to read or write or cannot hold and manipulate a writing utensil (e.g., pencil, pen) well enough to produce written symbols.
- Visual Supports - Adjustments to the environment that provide additional information to a child who has limited or reduced visual input.
- Assistive Equipment or Devices - Tools that make it possible or easier for a child to perform a task.
- Functional Positioning - Strategic positioning, seating, and postural support that allow a child to have increased body control.
- Sensory Support - Increasing or decreasing sensory input to facilitate a child's attention and interaction in the environment.
- Alternative Response Mode - Recognition that a child might demonstrate mastery of a skill in a unique way that differs from the child's typically developing peers.