Data drives all decisions in special education. It can be an extremely daunting task, so let’s dive into the special educator’s guide to data collection.
What You Need
You’re ready to prep you data collection, but what do you need? To start, you need:
- Student IEPs- try the IEP Binder to stay organized!
- Data collection method- I use the Simple Data Sheets
- Data collection materials- try IEP Goal Bins
- Data schedule- check out this blog post
How to Prep Data Collection
One of the biggest hurdles in data collection is figuring out how to prep it all. IEP Goal Bins take away the guesswork of data collection prep.
Read my blog post on how to setup IEP goal bins.
In IEP Goal Bins, you’ll prep:
- Activities and materials for each IEP goal and objective into bags
- Labels for each activity bag
- Instruction sheet for how to collect data on each goal and objective
Make an IEP goal bin for each student and refresh them at each annual IEP meeting. This system is great for any special education classroom!
How to Track Data
Pick a system for tracking data collection. I use the Simple Data Sheets. I like these because they are editable, plus you can use them as paper sheets or digitally! To prep these, I edit them to my liking, and I put all my student’s objectives on one sheet front and back. If they have more goals or objectives, I add an additional page. Then, I copy several months worth so it is easy to grab a fresh sheet when needed!
How to Get Paras on Board
Our paras are the backbone of our team! We absolutely need them for data collection too! Data collection can be really daunting for our paras too, so it is our job to get them on board. To do this, use a para binder and training topics.
Read this blog post on paraprofessional training.
When I train my paras on data collection, I first have my paras watch me complete a data session with a student. I break it down objective by objective per student. We rotate students daily, so it is crucial we all know how to collect all data. Then I have them practice so I can help them along if they need it. Next, I have them complete a data session while I collect fidelity data to ensure they are taking data to fidelity. Throughout the year, we’ll do little check ups to make sure they are still confident in their data collection. This is a great system to ensure all staff is on the same page!
Data collection doesn’t have to be scary! Use this guide to data collection and you’ll be well on your way to being a data master! What other data collection tips would you give? Share them in the comments!