An academic monitoring system, when implemented properly, can spell the difference between ineffective and effective schools and teachers. Effective teachers are able to adjust the mode of instruction depending on the performance of the students.
This consequently improves student performance as well as the level of instruction. Ineffective teachers on the other hand, present instructional materials rigidly or on a prescheduled basis, thus failing to adjust the instruction to meet the needs of the students (“The Research Literature: Academic Monitoring”, n.d.).
In order to make proper adjustments for student performance, teachers must make appropriate decisions based on the information they have gathered while implementing instructional practices. This decision making capability requires constant monitoring of students’ performance.
There are many different monitoring strategies teachers can implement to check on students’ performance. The modality strength strategy allows students to assess their learning styles (“General-Purpose Learning Strategies for Monitoring”, n.d.).
The exam debriefing and self-monitoring exam checklist strategies evaluate a student’s preparedness for the exam as well as his performance during the exam. The study habits assessment appraises study habits in general.
On a more specific level, the following monitoring strategies are usually used by educators to make instructional decisions and provide feedback to students on their progress (Cotton, 2001):
Asking questions to students to test their understanding of the material just taught.
Moving around the classroom during seatwork and engaging in one-to-one student contact regarding their work.
Assigning, collecting, correcting homework and recording the scores. Carrying out periodic reviews with students to check their grasp of learning materials and determine gaps in their understanding. Conducting and correcting tests and recording the scores. Reviewing the data collected to assess student performance and making adjustments in instruction as needed.
There are two major purposes for academic monitoring: the attainment of student goals and the improvement of instructional practices (“The Research Literature: Academic Monitoring”, n.d.). Teachers therefore cannot implement proper and successful monitoring strategies if they have not set clear instructional goals for the students. The very purpose of a set of goals is to be able to monitor student performance with respect to these goals.
Monitoring strategies must also provide for timely monitoring of student progress (“The Research Literature: Academic Monitoring”, n.d.). It is important that the students’ performance be tested frequently in order to determine and check skill deficits as early as possible.
Monitoring strategies must also be designed so as to facilitate corrective actions. Monitoring approaches must be able to assess which students are ready for a new lesson, those who require reteaching and those who have made careless errors. Based on the information gathered, corrective actions must be provided and built into the system.
Another major reason why academic monitoring is important is that it monitors and improves instruction. School districts usually emphasize the need to collect information regarding student progress.
Such data however becomes insignificant when used only to classify students as high or low achievers and teachers as effective and ineffective. The information will serve its purpose when used to assess the effectivity of instruction.