Data Tracking and Student Growth, Part I

As a Learning Specialist, I report progress on IEP goals in quantitative terms. As such, it’s essential (for my sanity) to have a good system in place for recording and retrieving student data.

Setting up a system is initially time consuming, but once in place, it saves you time and allows you to be accurate and confident in your reporting throughout the year. It is also a great way for you to identify areas of need and growth for your students.

Here are some key points to consider/follow when recording major data points:

  • Identify what you want to measure.
  • Identify what assessments you will use to measure student growth.
  • Give assessment and establish a baseline for each student.
  • Identify how often you will access; this is typically fall, winter, and spring.

When thinking about data collection, mull over these points and ask, “What do I want to measure?” For me, this typically includes: decoding, fluency, comprehension, writing, and mathematical computations.

In Part II, I will give you specific examples of what assessments I use, and how I record them.

Happy teaching!

Writing Specific and Measureable Goals

Whether you are writing a goal for:  students to meet school benchmarks in reading, a student on an IEP (Individualized Education Program), a personal goal, or a goal for your child, goals should be specific and measureable.

A goal should include these components:

  • a baseline (current level)
  • how you will measure the goal
  • when the goal is expected to be met
  • a reasonable amount of expected growth/progress (goals need to be attainable!)

Here is a sample goal:

By 12/2014, “Johnny” will write a five sentence paragraph including a topic sentence, three supporting sentences, and a close, with 80% accuracy in 4 out of 5 trials as measured by student writing samples and a rubric.

Baseline: Johnny currently writes one sentence beginning with a capital and ending with an end mark.

Goals can also have objectives that break the goal down even further. For example, you could add as an objective: Johnny will use a graphic organizer to organize his ideas for his paragraph.

Again, it really helps to know where your student/child is at, and where you would like him or her to be. Make sure the goals are reasonable. Most students make a years worth of academic growth in a given year. If a student has a learning disability, adjust the goal to meet his or her learning pace.

Special Education is a Service

Your child or students may be receiving special education services.

I want to emphasize:

Special education is a service. Special education does not refer to a place, and it does not refer to a person.

These services may be offered in a variety of settings ranging from the least restrictive, in the general education classroom, to more restrictive, such as a separate classroom. Some students flourish in a more restrictive environment, and some students flourish in a less restrictive environment; it is highly individualized.

As a rule:

The environment should best meet the needs of the student in the least restrictive environment (LRE).