I despise data tracking sheets. Carrying around clip boards or binders while working with a student is annoying. Yes, it is just necessary at times and I know a lot of people are finding digital ways to track data, but I am the least tech-savvy millenial out there. So, I found some ways to go around it.
Welcome! If you are new here, I am Kayla a former special education teacher now inclusion specialist here to help you include your students with disabilities into their community. Even though my focus is inclusion, I usually talk a lot about IEPs, behaviors, and relationships. All big pillars in a successful inclusive community. If you want to learn more about me, click here! Let's get to it!
1. Think about how you will track data when choosing goals
““The best way to predict your future is to create it.”
― Abraham Lincoln
I know when you are new to a school or get new students, you get an IEP you haven't created. Unfortunately, there doesn't seem to be an agreeance at all on how goals should be decided. Every team is different, every student is different, and every teacher is different. Now all IEP goals should have written in them HOW to track the goal. But for my experience, that didn't happen very often.
I quickly learned that I preferred writing goals that could be tracked with work samples. Especially academic ones, such as, writing, math, reading, any sort of comprehension, etc. This practice worked for elementary school and middle school. But it wasn't JUST work samples. There was more to it then that. Before the tracking could begin, I would first...
2. Train the Staff
I would explain to them how we were going to be tracking data. It is important to keep in mind that those staff members experience a lot of different teaching styles throughout their career, so I would take the time to make clear my expectations. Which were the following:
Use the code explained
Do this every time
Make sure the students name, date, and duration is on the worksheet
I made it clear to the staff that I will ask follow-up questions if the information is not clear on the worksheet. Which leads me too
3. Take Notes on the Worksheets
The notes should make sense based off of the goal for the child. If the goal is to write their name and then do a non-preferred task for 5 minutes, the notes should say the prompting level the student needed to right their name and then the time they worked on the non-preferred task until they needed a prompt to continue working.
Sometimes notes on top of the worksheets was just the time the worksheet started and ended. But sometimes there was much more information but it was all secret to the student because we
4. Have a code
The code was not hard at all to memorize or understand, but it meant nothing to the students and weeks of data tracking for me. Here are some examples of the data I needed and the tracking we did.
We had a level of prompting:
The letter "I" with a circle around it = independent
VP= Verbal Prompting
We would also have tally makes next to the letters depending on how many times we had to do prompt. I want to make clear that this was not all done in front of the student. Usually these were short, 5-10 minute tasks, and we would work with the student 1:1 and once the activity was done the code would be placed on top.
The other code (which isn't really a code) was marking how many they got right at the prompting level they were aiming for based off their goal. Which again, would either be noted very slightly, maybe with a pencil dot near a number to remind yourself they got it right or memorized by the staff member if able. Lastly,
5. Have a place to put the worksheets and a time to track the data
We had a bin that was the "all done" bin where students put their worksheets. This bin was the "all done" place for ALL the worksheets, even random activities that I wasn't tracking data on. Every Friday, a staff member would run circle time or we would watch an educational 20-30 minute video and I would go through as much of the data as I can and plugging it into their binders.
This practice also gave me time to look at their weekly progress. When we tracked data on the data sheets and it went straight into the binder, I wouldn't take the time to digest the progress or not progress.
Have you ever tracked data like this? Does this seem doable in your classroom?
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