Establishing Baselines when Teaching

General and special educators both use baselines to measure growth.

What is a baseline? A baseline is the current level the student is at before any new teaching or intervention has begun. Baselines can be used for any subject and also to monitor behavior.

It makes sense that in order to show growth and to target areas of need, one would need to know a student’s current levels. For reading, baselines are typically taken in the fall and then again in the spring. For students on an Individualized Education Program (IEP), the baselines are measured before writing new goals, and then measured periodically throughout the year and again at the next year’s IEP.

An example of a baseline for a kindergarten student is: Susie knows 5 of her 26 letters sounds (letters: b, f, h, j, q, and z). That is Susie’s baseline. A typical goal for a kindergarten student would be for Susie to know all 26 letter sounds by the end of the school year.