( 1995) is based on a consideration of the social consequences of assessment. Messick's view is that for a test to be validated it is necessary to demonstrate that using the test properly results in benefit to the individual and society. A significant aspect of the recent research on GOM is the focus on how the data obtained through progress monitoring are used by professionals as a basis for educational decision making. This research has demonstrated the consequences of using GOM data to make decisions during prereferral screening, eligibility for services, instructional evaluation, reintegration evaluation, and program effectiveness ( Marston & Magnusson, 1988; Shinn, 1995). Among these decisions, evaluating instructional effectiveness is most central to the purpose of progress monitoring. If progress monitoring is to function as a dynamic in the development of improved instructional programs, teachers must be able to use the information generated to determine when a program is effective and when to make changes in the program. Fortunately, evidence exists that teachers can use GOM to increase their effectiveness ( Fuchs, Deno, & Mirkin, 1984; Fuchs & Fuchs, 1986).
Monitoring student progress is an activity included in any conceptualization of teaching-no matter how informal. The issues that confront us when considering progress monitoring seem not to surround whether teachers should monitor progress; rather, they surround the degree of formalization and the nature of the progress-monitoring procedures used. Evidence exists that progress-monitoring approaches can be highly structured and precise, and that using such approaches can produce benefits in terms of increased student achievement and improved communication. Despite this evidence, the use of highly structured and empirically validated progress-monitoring procedures is not widespread. How long it will take for systematic progress- monitoring procedures to be adopted by state education agencies and school districts is difficult to estimate. Perhaps the greater pressure for accountability with respect to student outcomes will result in policies that require the availability of progress-monitoring data. We can hope that the adoption of such beneficial practices will occur more rapidly than was true of the British Navy when it waited more than 200 years after discovering that fresh fruit prevented scurvy to require that its ships carry such food.
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