Measuring Progress

Vanguard measures academic results and social-emotional progress as part of one integrated, evolving continuum. The academic and clinical team assigned to each Vanguard student meets weekly to assess progress in line with a student’s individual learning plan, and meets with parents quarterly, or more often as needed, to report results and discuss future goals. During these meetings, we evaluate where a student’s plan is working and where changes may be needed. For example, focus on a new subject can mitigate negative social-emotional behaviors in one student while a change of environment for another student can put a derailed learning process back on track.

In our daily life with students and in our team and parent meetings, we rely on several different, evidence-based tools for measuring each student’s academic and therapeutic progress.

Academic Progress

The tools we use to monitor individual academic results will vary depending on each student’s specific learning plan. Tools for measuring academic progress include the i-Ready assessment, Brigance basic skills test, and Woodcock-Johnson achievement test —among other resources, including the Stanford Achievement Test and PSAT/SAT scores.

Tools such as these, along with teacher observations, formal and informal classroom assessments and daily work samples, help us evaluate individual student progress in line with well-defined goals. Such resources identify a student’s strengths and areas for growth, helping Vanguard to address knowledge gaps, target next steps in learning, and monitor progress over time.

Therapeutic Progress

Vanguard evaluates therapeutic progress using the Devereux Student Strengths Assessment (DESSA), a practical, user-friendly way to measure social-emotional learning. Directly aligned with the CASEL framework, the DESSA is grounded in resilience theory or the belief that what happens to a person matters less than how a person reacts to what happens. The DESSA measures student growth in the following areas:

  • Self Awareness
  • Self Management
  • Social Awareness
  • Relationship Skills
  • Goal-Directed Behavior
  • Personal Responsibility
  • Decision-Making
  • Optimistic Thinking

On a biannual basis, the team assigned to each Vanguard student provides DESSA ratings of strong, typical, or needing instruction, with a composite score to evaluate overall progress. The DESSA is a standardized assessment that helps convey results and facilitates discussion with parents.

In our communications with parents, Vanguard provides a traditional academic report card while also reporting on therapeutic results. We ensure that parents know how their children are doing on both fronts—with detailed analysis of how social-emotional learning reinforces academic learning and how academic growth supports social-emotional growth.

> Academics 

Social-Emotional Learning 


Vanguard Preparatory School

4240 Sigma Road Dallas, TX 75244 | phone: 972.404.1616 | fax: 972.404.1641

Accredited By Southern Association of Colleges and Schools - AdvancED | TEA Approved

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