Goal Setting

Track My Progress can be used for educational goal setting for your students. The table below displays the average yearly progress and the average weekly progress for Math and Reading tests for each grade level. Typically an educational goal will be set for a student who is behind her peer group. The strategy is to select a goal that will enable the student to close the gap with her peers. If a below grade-level student only makes average yearly progress she will continue to be behind her peers and will be at increased risk for school failure with each passing year.

Also displayed in the below table are the "accelerated weekly progress*" and the "very accelerated weekly progress*" values for Math and Reading for each grade level. These values can help you set goals for your students that aim for closing the gap with their peer group.

Grade Level
End of Year Average Scale Score
Average Yearly Progress
Average Weekly Progress Accelerated Weekly Progress*

Very Accelerated Weekly Progress*

K 486 108 2.08 3.12 4.16
1 585 99 1.90 2.85 3.80
2 667 82 1.69 2.54 3.38
3 733 66 1.27 1.91 2.54
4 792 59 1.13 1.70 2.26
5 840 48 0.92 1.38 1.84

The first question that commonly arises during the goal setting process is, "how ambitious a goal should I set for my student?" The answer depends on a number of factors that you will need to evaluate to choose an appropriate goal for your student:

  • What has been the student's learning rate prior to the proposed intervention?
  • What is the student's motivation to learn?
  • How intensive is the intervention?
  • Is the intervention large group or small group?
  • How have other students responded to this intervention?

To set a goal for your student follow these steps:

Choose the subject or domain for which you would like to set a goal. Typically this will be in the area of intervention and the student's lowest Track My Progress domain scores. For example, a student who has a Foundational Reading score in red and is about to begin using a computer-based phonics program the Foundational Reading domain should be used for goal setting. Alternatively, the subject (Reading or Math) can be used if it does not make sense to select a domain.
Identify the student’s baseline score from the most recent test.
Determine how ambitious a goal is appropriate for this student. For example, average weekly progress, accelerated weekly progress or very accelerated weekly progress can be selected from the table above. This decision will provide you with the weekly growth rate to use.
Determine the number of weeks between the most recent test and the next scheduled test. Multiply the number of weeks by the weekly growth rate from step 3. Add this number to the baseline score (step 2).

It is important to keep in mind the principle of using multiple data points in educational decision making. This means continuing to track the progress of your student through multiple test windows or by supplementing your assessment process with more frequent progress monitoring.


*Shapiro, E. S. (2008). Best practices in setting progress-monitoring monitoring goals for academic skill improvement. In A. Thomas & J. Grimes (Eds.), Best practices in school psychology V (pp. 141-157). Bethesda, MD: National Association of School Psychologists.

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