Assessment, monitoring progress and interventions

This unit examines the purposes of assessment, strategies for monitoring progress, and the effectiveness of small group interventions.

We look at:

  • The importance of setting goals for pupils with SLCN
  • The purpose of assessment for monitoring and securing pupils’ progress
  • How you can use a pupil’s previous achievements as a starting point for setting challenging targets
  • Strategies for monitoring progress
  • The benefits of small group interventions, and examples of some which have been shown to be effective
  • How to implement and evaluate small group interventions

To find out more about the One Step at a Time, Secondary Talk and BLAST programmes referred to in your PDF, select each of the tabs in this resource.


Small group intervention programmes

The aim of this step-by-step programme is to make spoken language teaching in mainstream school classrooms manageable by:

  • Concentrating on the spoken language skills that are most critical for educational progress.
  • Identifying different types of skill that can be taught one type at a time, one year at a time.
  • Breaking these types down into sub-skills that can be taught one skill at a time, one term at a time.
  • Ensuring that all skills are taught to all children in a class or group, skill by skill, child by child.

One Step at a Time identifies four types of spoken language skill that are crucial for progress in school:

  • Conversation
  • Listening
  • Narrative
  • Discussion

There are four stages at which these skills are developed over the course of a school year:

  • Conversation skills in the nursery year (children aged 3 to 4)
  • Listening skills in reception (children aged 4 to 5)
  • Narrative skills in Year 1 (children aged 5 to 6)
  • Discussion skills in Year 2 (children aged 6 to 7)

Pupils have their language skills assessed and identified using a traffic light system, with green representing no need for intervention:

  • At amber, pupils have small group sessions, tailored to their needs, twice a week.
  • At red, pupils take part in daily group sessions.

You can find out more about this programme on the Stoke Speaks Out website.

There are a number of resource implications in setting up a small group intervention. Through your school’s SENCO, you may need to make a case for the intervention to the senior leadership team. Find out more by selecting each consideration on this mind map.


SGI considerations

  • Costs

    You may need to put together an estimate of how much support you’ll need from the school’s budget.

  • Training

    To effectively deliver a specific small group intervention, the staff involved may need prior training and ongoing support. Think about how you can make time, both for yourself and others, to carry this out.

  • Resources

    Consider what resources you need to deliver the intervention; if your school has sufficient equipment or learning materials, will these be available at the correct time? Do you require any resources that the school does not currently have?

  • Timetabling

    You may need to look at the timetable for the staff you require to deliver the intervention. Think about how you can arrange cover for them if the intervention is to be delivered outside the classroom.


This mind map shows some of the factors that you’ll need to consider when creating a plan to monitor the progress of pupils in a small group intervention. Select each factor to read more.


Plan for monitoring progress

  • Baseline pre-test

    Before starting the intervention, conduct a test with the pupil to establish their learning requirements.

  • Regular monitoring

    Make time to check on the progress and effects of the intervention at regular intervals if it is delivered over more than a couple of weeks.

  • Post-intervention test

    After the intervention is finished, conduct another test to establish the significance of gains made by the pupils.

  • Longer-term monitoring

    In the longer term, continue to monitor pupils’ progress and assess whether gains made by pupils as a result of the intervention are sustained.


Select each stage from the graphic to find out more about task 5 of this unit: implementing and evaluating small group interventions.


Task 5: implementing and evaluating small group interventions

  1. Involve pupils’ teachers
  2. Baseline data
  3. Training
  4. Monitor
  5. Compare
  6. Long-term monitoring
  1. The pupils’ class teachers should be involved in the intervention, know the reasons for it, and understand how they can transfer the intervention’s learning into lessons. As the process progresses, you may want to observe the pupils in the classroom to assess how they are using their new knowledge, and provide feedback to the pupils and teacher.

  2. Collecting qualitative and quantitative baseline data on each pupil prior to the intervention will help you assess its impact. Your local authority service or a speech and language therapist may be able to advise you on particular quantitative tests that you can use. You can collect qualitative data on pupils’ confidence and learning capacity from teachers, parents, carers and pupils.

  3. The success of a small group intervention may depend on the quality of staff training and the way in which it is monitored. Academic writers on this subject matter have expressed concerns about the lack of training that teaching assistants receive before commencing in important pedagogic roles such as small group interventions.

  4. Collect interim data on the impact of interventions that last longer than a term. Keep track of the programme to ensure it is being delivered as intended, and give staff support to optimise its effectiveness. You may need to adjust the delivery of the intervention based on pupils’ responses to the teaching.

  5. At the end of the intervention, collect data as you did at the beginning of the process and assess how the pupils have progressed. Don’t necessarily just focus on the original goals of the intervention, as it may have resulted in related learning benefits. For example, an intervention that aims to improve pupils’ ability to follow instructions could also improve their attention and listening skills.

  6. After the intervention is complete, collect data at regular intervals to see if any gains made are maintained or improved upon. This could involve the use of standardised tests, but is more likely to rely on pupil progress data.