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U46 assessing how to monitor student progress

The Elgin-area School District U46 Board of Education is weighing whether to extend by one year the contract to monitor student progress in math and reading.

The measure, expected to be voted on Monday, is drawing questions about the effectiveness of the Aimsweb monitoring tool.

The details of the contract were highlighted during a recent meeting.

Board member Sue Kerr asked at a recent meeting whether the tool assesses the needs of students.

Trisha Shrode, director of curriculum and instruction, said the district is looking into that.

"We've had some conversations with teachers at all levels about the appropriateness of the tool, and we're reviewing that moving forward into next year," she said. "Obviously, we have to maintain a progress monitoring tool, but we're really taking a look at whether this is the most appropriate tool."

Shrode explained this might not be the tool presented to the board next year.

"Because it is the tool we have used, we wanted to continue for one more year while we assess," she said.

The district's Multi-Tiered Systems of Support program provides measures to assess response to intervention in English and Spanish in kindergarten through sixth grade.

District officials are looking to use Title I and Title II grant funds to pay Pearson Learning Assessments $82,550 for the monitoring tool and $9,000 for the accompanying professional development services.

"I do know that we added a more comprehensive professional development portion because one of the pushbacks that we had from teachers was that they were struggling to implement it well," Shrode said. "We invested using Title I and Title II dollars in the professional development aligned to the product, so I know that we added that cost."

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