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Using Progress Maps to Organize Student Assessment Data

When traditional assessment practices fail to provide the type of feedback students need to understand their mistakes or misconceptions so that they can continue to improve, the focus should be on classroom-based assessments that will yield the feedback students need to organize their learning goals. This can be accomplished by doing the following:

Progress maps, a technique new to most educators, can incorporate rubrics and help organize longitudinal assessment data within students' electronic portfolios based on continuums of expertise in content-area domains. They "provide a description of skills, understandings, and knowledge in the sequence in which they typically develop—a picture of what it means to improve over time in an area of learning" (Pellegrino, Chudowsky, & Glaser, 2001, p. 190).

The basis for designing progress maps is a developmental continuum of increasing expertise in a content area. Progress maps are set up on an individualized student basis with data from an initial baseline assessment about that student's level of expertise or status of his/her knowledge and skills in relationship to a set of related standards, say at the beginning of the year. Formative assessments using benchmark criteria that follow a developmental continuum provide subsequent data throughout the year to plot on the progress map and provide a quick visual for monitoring student's growing expertise pertaining to the content-area standard(s).

The progress-mapping technique is most efficient when technology can be used to collect, organize, and store the data via electronic rubrics, graphing tools, and e-portfolios. Analysis of standards reveals that not all standards deserve attention on a developmental continuum, but rather benchmarks need to focus on the key concepts, knowledge, and skills that enable students to progress (Porter, 2002).



Pellegrino, J. W., Chudowsky, N., & Glaser, R. (Eds.). (2001). Knowing what students know: The science and design of educational assessment. Committee on the Foundations of Assessment, Board on Testing and Assessment, Center for Education, National Research Council. Washington , DC : National Academy Press. Retrieved on September 6, 2020, from

Porter, A. C. (2002). Measuring the content of instruction: Uses in research and practice. Educational Researcher, 31(7), 3–14. Retrieved September 6, 2005 , from
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