Data… torture as you are doing it, but helpful when it is complete. There is nothing more satisfying than have concrete evidence that a child is meeting his/her goals or needs additional supports. No one can argue with data. In most places it is required. I worked for many years in acute care so the good-old “SOAP” note was a standard and they were cracking down all the time on what was supposed to be included in that note. There were criteria we needed to follow regarding how often we needed to review goals and qualifications for continuation of services and discharge. Data was crucial. Now that I am in a school setting, data collection seems less standardized but still needed. There are very few concrete rules on how to keep data… so this made me start my search for the best data collection practices. Here’s what I found:
Top Three Trending Ways to Keep Data-
- Present Level Assessments
Quick, thorough screening tools to assess a student’s strengths and needs. Gather the necessary data for development of Individualized Education Programs. Design targeted interventions specific to that student’s identified need areas.
- Progress Monitoring Tools
Criterion Referenced Tests and rubrics for a variety of speech and language skills. Collect baseline data and monitor progress over time.
Targeted skills, levels of cueing, criteria for mastery, assessment methods, and assessment frequency. Measurable goals that can be customized based on a student’s individual needs.
- Caseload Management
Sortable record of your students’ demographics, IEP/Evaluation dates, service times, and treatment areas.
Tips to enhance speech and language skills. Used as accommodations in a student’s IEP.
It is beyond fantastic. It is a monthly subscription- worth every penny in my opinion. Loading my caseload was so easy and it uploaded to excel with a click of a button so I could manipulate it and send it to teachers and supervisors. The scheduling feature was a load off my shoulders. I made a schedule in thirty minutes and it usually takes me hours! No more post-its and highlighters and multiple homemade spreadsheets. It uploads and prints perfectly. Cannot say enough positive things about this wonderful product. Full review on this to come! (It is that good- it deserves its own post).
2) Google Drive– If you can master this like Marisha McGrorty from Road to Speech then you are a super speechie. She has figured out how to create simple forms with check-list bubbles and charts to keep track of her students’ data. It is worth the time to watch the tutorial. It is fascinating how she creates the different sheets and graphs them. I had no idea this was out there and so accessible.
3)Teachers Pay Teachers has a number of speech data binders available. Most of these are not only functional but also decorative. They come in optional colors and designs. I consider myself a planner aficionado! I am obsessed with buying planners. Here are my top favorites.
What is on the way out in regards to data collection…
1 ) Chicken scratch. Slips of paper with barely readable numbers and short hand words will not hold up well in court. I know that sounds extreme, but it could really happen. We are providing professional and skilled services and our data should be reflective of that because it is technically part of the student’s legal file. In most areas, the rule is- if it has the student’s name on it then it is part of his/her file.
2) No data. I actually know quite a few SLPs that do NOT take any data. I do not think this is prudent in this day in age. There are a lot of risks involved when you decide not to “prove” that you indeed provided services and that the services were in fact “skilled.” Too many people already think that we just “play games” with kids. It is important to document how we are providing intervention and that is needed for this student to become more communicative in different environments.
Is there a system that you use? What are your thoughts on collecting data?
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