There are many tools to track academic progress for children in education settings. But how to track the progress of autistic children and young people in areas that fall outside the curriculum? Communication, interaction, social understanding, relationships and independence are just a few of the areas that teachers and education professionals can help develop and improve. Having a clear understanding of the progress over time in these areas helps practitioners with planning and reporting – to the team around the child, to parents and to external auditors, such as Ofsted.
The AET has developed a widely-recognised, free-to-download resource for this, the AET Progression Framework 2.0. Our AET training partner, Caroline O’Reilly, SEND Strategy Lead – Autism at Essex County Council, shares with us her thoughts on the resource and on its online app version, the AET Progression Framework 2.0 Powered by ShowProgress.
If you work with children or young people (CYP) with SEND, you’re likely to agree that progress made by CYP with autism may not be demonstrated effectively using National Curriculum assessments. We’re often seeking a way of measuring progress in other areas so that we can acknowledge, celebrate and identify outcomes and target provision. I’ve been looking into how this can be achieved successfully without increasing the workload and pressure we are all experiencing in education. Fortunately for us, the Autism Education Trust has developed the Progression Framework.
In this blog I’ll explore what the Progression Framework is, as well as the impact of its use on autism practice in schools. Plus, I’ll introduce the exciting 2019 online version, powered by Show Progress, which enhances the benefits the Progression Framework offers to CYP, their families, school staff and associated professionals.
What is it?
The Progression Framework is free to download from the Autism Education Trust. It is in both PDF and Excel formats and includes guidance documents. For increased versatility and ease of use, you can subscribe to Show Progress. This is a brilliant tool which provides a convenient online means of tracking the progress CYP make against eight learning areas within the Progression Framework:
With secure cloud storage, it is simple to create person-centered profiles for each CYP based on the priority learning areas identified and evidence gathered. It is so useful being able to reflect on progress made over the years and share this information with the CYP, parents and professionals. This means the identification of outcomes and next steps is so much easier!
Impressive, visually presented information in the form of graphs and reports can be generated with ease. This makes preparing for termly and annual reviews, as well as evidencing requests for Education Health Care Plans (EHCPs) less time consuming…. something we are all looking for!
Why is it important?
I’ve introduced and supported the implementation of the Progression Framework to mainstream primary schools. Also, as part of my Master’s research, I was able to analyse the feedback given by a cohort of 78 school staff. They highlighted three key factors underpinning the importance of the Progression Framework:
– It develops school staff’s confidence in understanding and assessing progress children with autism make in areas outside of the National Curriculum.
– It develops the extent to which schools measure progress and address the needs of children with autism. Including measuring the impact of interventions and approaches.
– It is an effective tool for tracking progress made by children with autism. Basically ‘it does what it says on the tin!’
We’re all working towards preparing all our CYP for adulthood and this is at the core of the Progression Framework. However, any tools used not only need to be effective in achieving the best outcomes for our CYP, but the process needs to be realistic and manageable. The Progression Framework has been developed to successfully include the themes that matter, as identified by those who use it:
Tips and Reminders for using the Progression Framework
– EITHER download the Progression Framework free to use as a PDF or Excel document.
– OR pay a subscription for Show Progress. This will give you access to online progress tracking software for use with the Progression Framework. Additional features include an evidence collection facility, tablet compatibility and progress recording over an increased time period. This is essential for transitioning between phases of education.
– Start off by identifying one main learning area relating to the CYP as you don’t want to be overwhelmed. You can then pick out the learning priorities, outcomes and intentions:
– The Progression Framework is a working document. Involve all adults who work with the CYP in regularly updating it. By using Show Progress, there will be reduced need for notebooks, as information can be recorded online with photographic evidence. A chronology of progress can be compiled which can be accessed by all those involved meaning reports with graphs can be generated easily at review times.
To see just how easy Show Progress is to use watch the below video:
I would encourage us all to use the Progression Framework. Together, we can enrich the educational experiences of CYP with autism through effective provision and subsequent improved outcomes, fostering the development of fulfilled adult lives.