Progress Monitoring – Spanish – Individual Growth and Development Indicators (PM – S – IGDIs)

About the project

The purpose of this project is develop a preschool early language and literacy progress monitoring tool in Spanish, Progress Monitoring-Spanish-Individual Growth and Development Indicators (PM-S-IGDIs), to complement a progress monitoring tool in English (PM-IGDIs) that will be developed with funding from IES. The development of a Spanish progress monitoring tool will allow for frequent assessment of the phonological awareness, oral language, and alphabet knowledge of 4- 5- year old Spanish-English dual language learners (DLLs). This tool will provide meaningful data at 3 week intervals to guide instruction for teachers of Spanish speaking preschool aged children. Nearly one in four children in the United States is Latino and more than one in five comes from a home where a language other than English is spoken. Targeting the development of early language and literacy skills in English and Spanish is a key recommendation to improve the reading and academic outcomes of Spanish-English DLLs.

Project Activities: The researchers will develop and validate the PM-S-IGDIs, document and produce Spanish and English language growth trajectories at intervals over the preschool year to support instructional data-based decision making, engage preschool teachers in the development process, and create manuals to guide administration, interpretation, and use of PM-S-IGDIs.

Products: The team will produce a fully developed and validated progress monitoring tool that will be used to assess the language and literacy skills of Spanish speaking preschoolers, test manuals to support data-driven decision making for early childhood educators, and peer reviewed publications.

Study design

Setting and Sample: The study will take place in Spanish speaking early childhood programs, including Head Start, private preschool and public pre-k classrooms. Settings include urban, suburban and rural locations in Utah, Minnesota, Kansas, Oregon, Florida and California. Study participants will include up to 30 preschool teachers and 650 4- and 5-year old Spanish speaking children who represent different Spanish dialects: Mexican, Caribbean, and mixed regions.

Assessment: The Spanish Progress Monitoring-Spanish-Individual Growth and Development Indicators (PM-S-IGDIs) measure will include test items from the existing IES-funded Spanish-IGDIs measurement project. The Spanish-Individual Growth and Development Indicators (S-IGDIs) are brief, easy to collect, psychometrically robust screening measures of Spanish early language and literacy that are used to regularly assess and identify children who are not reaching expected performance levels and thus are candidates for more intensive and/or supplemental intervention. PM-S-IGDIs will include the same constructs (oral language, alphabet knowledge, and phonological awareness) and tasks that are included in the S-IGDIs measure. PM-S-IGDIs are designed to support data-based decision making for improved differentiation of early language and literacy instruction. The progress monitoring tool will include five tasks: Denominacion de los DibujosVerbos ExpressivoPrimero SonidosDenominacion de las letras and Identificación de los Sonidos. Each brief task (2 to 4 minutes) is designed to quickly and efficiently assess student performance. Tasks include 20 to 40 items and are designed to be delivered frequently to support data-based decision making. Results will be used to report growth in easy to understand and accessible metrics for early childhood educators.

Research Design and Methods: The research activities will take place in six phases. In Phases 2 and 5, the research team will recruit 15 teachers in each phase (30 total) to participate in semi-annual interviews to review PM-S-IGDIs, manualization of assessment materials and provide feedback on design of technical protocols and administration guides. In Year 1/Phase 1 the researchers will expand the existing S-IGDIs item bank. During Phase 1, 200 dual language learners (DLLs) will participate in item development and calibration. In Year 1/Phase 2 the research team will examine the feasibility of the tools by conducting interviews with teachers and getting input from a community panel of experts. In Year3/Phase 3 and Year 4/Phase 4, the researchers will examine the developmental trajectory for Spanish and English early literacy and language domains, evaluating sensitivity to growth and psychometrics. During Phase 3, 250 DLLs will participate in testing to illustrate growth over an entire academic year using Spanish progress monitoring scores. In Year 3/Phase 5, the research team will develop manuals for all test materials and develop tools for data-driven decision making to support instructional modification. In Year 4/Phase 6, the research team will test 100 DLLs in English and Spanish to develop an IGDI comparative growth trajectory to illustrate growth in each language and provide information to support interpretation of growth rates. The research team will also conduct analyses to establish predictive validity by using growth estimates from Phase 3 to predict children’s performance in first grade.

Control Condition: There is no control condition.

Key Measures: Direct assessment measures will include English PM-IGDIs and PALS Español Pre-k. Researchers will use the Pre-IDEA Proficiency test (Pre-IPT) in English and Spanish to assess language proficiency, and assess level of language exposure using classroom and home surveys. The research team will also collect demographic information from parents. Teachers will complete a classroom survey to provide information to report on the primary language that children hear and speak during the day. Parents will complete a family survey to provide information about child and family demographic characteristics.

Data Analytic Strategy: The researchers will conduct qualitative analysis of interviews and observational data to examine the clarity and usability of test manuals. They will conduct descriptive analyses of student performance on key measures and examine correlations between the PALS Español Pre-k and PM-S-IGDIs. The research team will use Rasch modeling to identify difficult items and evaluate item quality and differential item functioning to examine bias in measurement design. They will use hierarchical linear modeling and nonlinear multilevel models to examine growth curves and reliability of slopes.


Alisha Wackerle-Hollman, principal investigator

Scott McConnell, co-principal investigator

Michael Rodriguez, co-principal investigator


Institute of Education Sciences, National Center for Education Research (IES NCER)

Related IES Projects

Making Progress with Progress Monitoring: Developing Early Literacy and Language Individual and Growth Development Indicators as Progress Monitoring Tools (R305A160080)
Research and Development of Spanish Individual Growth and Development Indicators (S-IGDIs): Early Literacy Identification Measures for Spanish-English Bilingual Children (R305A120449)