Observation is a Helpful Tool to Measure Student
Observations can provide highly accurate, detailed, and verifiable information on student strengths and weaknesses. Observation may be:
Systematic, wherein the observer gathers data on one or more precisely defined behaviors;
Non-systematic, in which the observer watches the child at school in the setting of concern and takes notes on the behaviors, characteristics, and personal interactions that seem significant; or
Standardized, using professionally published systems.
Standardized Rating Scales Measure Progress in a Uniform Way
Rating scales measure positive and problem behavior, attention, the child’s independence skills and other areas. This information allows the IEP team to:
Determine how strong or weak his skills across settings;
Measure progress or lack of progress; and
Document performance over time in a reliable, valid manner.
Rating scales are standardized questionnaires completed by teachers, parents, and others familiar with the student. They provide national comparisons as well.
Record Reviews Provide Comprehensive Information to Measure Student Progress
A third method of measuring student progress is the record review. In record review, information can be gathered from school cumulative records, school databases, information from previous schools, medical and mental health data, samples of student work accumulated in portfolios, and anecdotal records. Parents may also choose to provide an important family history for health and social issues.