Data Collection Series: What should I take data on?

Data, all day, every day. I'm sure you're taking a TON of data in your Special Education classroom. I take data on #allthethings in my classroom, too. But I remember when I started out in my classroom and I would wonder "What data do I need to be collecting?" So with all that fear of missing something important. I literally took data on EVERYTHING. There were so many data sheets that I honestly never looked at them. I mean, who has time for that?

I mean, seriously, did I need data for all of my students multiple trips to the bathroom each day? Probably not since 6 out of my 8 students were completely toilet trained by the time they came to my classroom. Did I need data on every response my students provided during our morning circle time? Again, probably not. But did I need data on the attending goals my students had? Absolutely! Once I had time to step away and think about it, it was clear that I didn't need to take data on #allthethings. I knew I needed to analyze what I was doing and find a way to do it better.

After years of practice and refining my practices in my classroom I am so happy that I figured out what data I need to be collecting in my classroom. It's pretty simple, actually. I keep data for three basic areas: IEP goals, curriculum, and ABC data for outlying behaviors. That's all.

I'll talk more about the actual data sheets in a future post solely about data sheets, but I developed data sheets that would effectively measure progress for my students goals. Then I collect any data that aligns to curriculum we're using (language arts programs, math curriculum, STAR curriculum, etc.) so I can measure student's progress through the curriculum and determine when mastery criteria for skills has been met. I also keep some extra ABC data sheets on hand so that I have them ready at a moment's notice. These are strictly for outlying behaviors that we don't see often and that need to be documented.

I'm no longer taking crazy amounts of data. I have found a system that works for me, and it's not very intensive. When it's time to report data for an IEP, I have all of the information I need. When I'm ready to check mastery criteria for a lesson in my curriculum, I have it handy.

For me, identifying what was important for me to have on hand at any time really made it clear to me what data I need to be collecting on a regular basis in my classroom. These 3 areas work best for me. It may be something slightly different for you, but I encourage you to think about what you really need your data for.

No comments

Back to Top