Effective implementation of response to intervention frameworks depends on efficient tools for monitoring progress. Evaluations of growth (i.e., slope) may be less efficient than evaluations of status at a single time point, especially if slopes do not add to predictions of outcomes over status. The authors examined progress-monitoring slope validity for predicting reading outcomes among middle school students by evaluating latent growth models for different combinations of progress-monitoring measures and outcomes. The authors used multigroup modeling to evaluate the effects of reading ability, reading intervention, and progress-monitoring administration condition on slope validity. Slope validity was greatest when progress-monitoring was aligned with the outcome (i.e., word reading fluency slope was used to predict fluency outcomes in contrast to comprehension outcomes), but effects varied across administration conditions (viz., repeated reading of familiar vs. novel passages). Unless the progress-monitoring measure is highly aligned with outcome, slope may be an inefficient method for evaluating progress in a response to intervention context.
Tolar, T. D., Barth, A. E., Fletcher, J. M., Francis, D. J., & Vaughn, S. (2013). Predicting reading outcomes with progress monitoring slopes among middle grade students. Learning and Individual Differences. Advance online publication. doi:10.1016/j.lindif.2013.11.001