We have been looking at data tracking and student growth. In Part I, we looked at the importance of a good data tracking system, and in Part II, we discussed three reading assessments I recommend.
Today, we will be looking at recording data. There are many ways you can record data, but for me, a good old fashioned spreadsheet works best. If you are a teacher who collaborate with other teachers or shares students, I recommend using Google Sheets. This way, you will both have direct access to data.
Here is how I approach data collection:
- Create a spreadsheet and make separate pages for each assessment.
- On the first page you create, list student names along left column.
- Copy and paste student list to each new assessment page.
- Decide how you want to label columns. For example, for Dibels assessment (I talk about this in Part II), have columns for: Fall Words Per Minute, Fall Error Medium, and then do the same for winter and spring.
- Enter score for each student.
This is a very basic description of data collection. Each teacher will discover what works best once they start a systematic data system. Some teachers prefer a paper chart in a binder; others learn to customize their charts, color code, and make graphs. There are many ways to approach data collection. The important thing is to have the data, and have it organized and readily accessible.
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.