Tip Tuesday: Show me the data linky!

If you’ve been following Crazy Speech World’s data collection link up, you know there are a number of brilliant SLPs out there streamlining their data collection in the most efficient means possible for their particular setting.  If you haven’t checked the linky party yet, do so.  You may just be inspired to or can grab a few free data collection forms you could try!!!
I started writing this blog post before I knew about this link up in response to a follower requests on wanting to know how I keep data.  This link up just happened to fall at the perfect time for me to get this blog post finished so I could share it.  So here goes nothing!!!!

Ok so as school is beginning soon, I know as SLPs out there, you are gearing up for ALL the paperwork that must be completed BEFORE you can even see one student.  I had a request for some posts on how I track data and progress and then Jenn over at Crazy Speech World decided to host this linky party so I thought it was perfect time to share with you what I did when I was working in the schools.

My Lesson Plan:

I have very specific district data forms that I needed to fill out on every student.  However I needed some type of form where I could update lesson plans on a weekly basis and could keep track of my data.  So I made these lesson plans below.

This is an example of what my lesson plans looked like (all the names and goals are fictitious!)!  I simply created a word table each week…one table for each day of the week.

  • As you can see I organized it by time I saw the students and which students were in the group I pulled on that day and time (the first column).  
  • The second column is for the IEP objectives for each student.  
  • The third column is where I planned the lesson/activity.  For my younger kiddos I would typically have at least 2 activities to keep their attention, but for older kiddos usually 1 activity was all we could get through in a 20 minute session.  This is also the column I changed and updated each week to show my new lessons which of course reflected the changes and improvements in my students’s skills.  
  • The final column is for data collection.  I always tried to type in all the necessary information (in my own shorthand) to keep data so I could save time tracking data during the session.  I also add a few spaces for extra notes I want to take.  Often times I used the margins as well, especially when taking qualitative data.   

If a student was absent, at the nurses office, in assembly, field trip etc. I would write in big letters across the row so I had a paper trail as to why I didn’t see that student that particular day.

All of this information was then transferred to the district required data sheet (always kept my lesson plans as a paper trail just in case the school ever had a mediation or due process situation I had to be part of).  I usually transferred from am students’s info during lunch and my pm students’s info at the end of the day.  The district sheet recorded progress on a point scale,but I always wrote a narrative of the activity and detailed description of the qualitative and quantitative data for a student just in case I ever had to explain what I did with a student on a particular date.

I had worked with younger kiddos where I lost time walking students to and from the therapy room so I had to build in extra minutes in my day for “transportation”.  However, a co-worker, who serviced older school-age students was able to save some time but making her students (with the classroom teacher’s help) responsible for walking to the therapy room on their own.  So she didn’t have to add any additional time for transportation.

When working with teachers/aides taking data:

Isn’t it the BEST when you have a teacher that is willing to help track their student’s speech progress?!

I worked with some wonderful classroom teachers who were willing to do just this.  How did I get them to do this you ask? Here are my tips:

  1. Keep things as simple as possible by providing all materials needed for tracking
  2. Ask staff to decided what time of day (what activity) would be the easiest time for them to track (it was usually during their small group time)
  3. Randomly check the data sheets during class time and ask the teacher every few days how the student is doing in the classroom (a little bit of accountability always helps!)
So what was my system? (I cannot take credit for this system…an early childhood teacher I worked with helped me with this b/c she is brilliant!)
  • Each student had their own folder.
  • Inside their folder was a classroom data collection sheet (like the example below)
  • I gave the teachers sheets of blank labels hooked to a clip board (usually only 1 sheet at a time b/c those things are pricey and if they are only tracking data for a few kids, it will take a while to go through 1 sheet…plus I LOVED when they asked me for more label sheets…means they are keeping data).
  • Each day they took data (I was happy with 1-2 days a week…lets be realistic here!), they would write it on one of the labels and place the label in of the of boxes on the data collection sheet.
  • I’d check the sheets periodically (gave them new sheet and labels when needed) and kept the completed sheets to show at IEP meeting time.  This is a GREAT way to show parents speech is NOT done in a vacuum and that the entire staff is really trying to help their child grow and learn.
(Keep in mind you may have to train a teacher or aide how to take data and what they are looking for before putting this system into place)

Why did I use labels instead of having them write directly ON the data sheet?  I have found its much easier for a teacher to carry around 1 clipboard during the day than several different student folders (then taking the time to open the folders, pull out the sheet, take the date, put back in the folder, etc….not going to happen!) Sometimes teachers are actually taking data on numerous kiddos at one time or in various situations so its much easier for them to take data in the moment (wherever they are on their labels sheets clipped to the clipboard) and simply transfer at the end of the day (or when they had time) by just sticking the labels on the correct student’s sheet.  This just seemed to be the way that worked so I ran with it! 🙂

And that’s it!  Those are the two primary ways I tracked progress in the school setting.  Want your copy of this classroom data sheet?  Well you can grab it here!!!

In private practice I am back to writing good ol’ fashioned SOAP notes.  I tend to write a lot and I have tried a narrative type form previously however I didn’t feel like it was super efficient.  So I recently decided to change my SOAP note form.  This is what I came up with.  Not sure how I’m going to like it yet but I’ll try it out for a while and see.
Want a copy of this SOAP note?  You can grab it here!

Anyway, that’s how I track data!  I hope you enjoyed this post and this link up.  I know I’ve really enjoyed reading all the other posts and great ideas out there!!!!

How do you take data?  Let us know your system by commenting below!!!

Happy taking…and tracking!!!

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