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This Week’s Episode: SLP Data Collection and How to Stay Organized

This month we are going to discuss all things data. 🤓

We started out this series with the importance of probe data, when to take it, and why we take it.

I’m excited to continue to share my organization strategies and data collection routine with you.

We’ve now got all this glorious data…how do we stay organized?

Let’s get started!

Strategies + Tips Discussed:

Step 1: Goal Awareness

Goal Cards make it easy to keep track of which goal we want to target. Check out this blog post for more information:
Speech Room Organization: Studnet Goals

Step 2:  Digital or Paper?

📝 Binder Option

Avery Easy Index
number all of my probes and store them in binder
create goal cards for each student (to review the goal)
write the number on the goal goal

💻  Digital Option

With the SLP Now Membership, you can attach them to the session
Check out this Blog Post: How to Organize Probe Data

Additional Resources Mentioned

How to Organize Probe Data

Pocket chart link

Avery Easy Index

Free 14 day SLP Now Trial

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Marisha : Hello there and welcome to the SLP Now Podcast, where we share practical therapy tips and ideas for busy speech language pathologists. Grab your favorite beverage and sit back as we dive into this week's episode.

Marisha : Hey there, it's Marisha, and welcome to the SLP Now Podcast. This month, we are diving into all things data collection. So we'll start off by talking about collecting probe data and why we would even want to do that. And then we'll talk about organizing the probes, strategies to collect data in groups and then how to document therapy data. So without further ado, let's get started with this week's topic.

Marisha : Now let's chat about how to organize those probes and those assessments. And if you're just tuning in for the first time, I'd highly recommend going back to last week's episode, that's 110, and that'll explain the basics for how I collect probe data and why I do it that way. But today we're getting into the nitty gritty details of how to get it all organized. So the first strategy that I think is super helpful, is to make goal cards for your students. If you're seeing your students in person, I'll link to a blog post that explains in more detail how this all works, but then I'll also share a quick little template that you can use to implement that with your students. And to find these links, you can go to to access that. So it's to access the free templates and all of the links that I'll mention.

Marisha : Backing up a little bit before we get into kind of the nitty gritty in terms of the actual cards, I really like using cards because it makes it easy to keep track of which goal I want to target with a student or which goal I want to collect data on. And it helps make sure that we're cycling through our students' goals, and it also is a great activity for them to do while they are waiting for their turn. So what we do is if we're doing this in person, I just print out little squares and it'll depend on the student. So sometimes I might just have the goal typed out, I might just print it out, but I really prefer to have students write the goal in their own words. So I just have these little cards, they write their goal. You can also have them write why it matters or whatever kind of things you want to add on, like how they'll feel when they meet their goal. Whatever you think is helpful, whatever might help meet that student.

Marisha : But I think what the goal is and why it matters are super helpful. And then typically students have two, three, four goals or whatnot. So we would just cycle through those goals at the beginning of every session. Well we would do one goal each session, but then if we have three goal cards, I just keep them in a little stack. I would just put them in a paper clip. You can also use a little binder ring so that they stay in order. How I had it set up, I made a little packet of each student's goal cards, put it together with a paper clip, and I stored them in one of those calendar pocket charts. That's linked in the blog post, that'll be in the show notes.

Marisha : So the cards fit in that organizer and just for student confidentiality and everything, I had colored pieces of paper as well. And instead of having the student's names, I let them pick a sticker and it is incredible how quickly they attached to their sticker. Like they knew exactly which sticker was theirs, and they knew exactly which packet to grab, it's really funny how that works.

Marisha : But yeah, so each student would grab their packet as they walked into the speech room and I color coded it by grade or classroom or whatever, just to make it easier for me to remember. But what we do is each student has their packet, they sit down, they start looking at their goal cards and they do a quick review. And then whichever goal is on the top is the goal that we're going to collect data on. Cards might get shuffled around as the students are reviewing them. And just to remediate that, like the first thing I ask is like, "Which goal is on the top?" And then ask each student which goal is on the top.

Marisha : And I might shift, again, clinical judgment, always trumps structure, but I would just ask each student, which goal was on the top, and as long as that made sense, we would collect probe data on that, and we'll talk about more strategies on how to collect probe data in a group. But this is really the key strategy, is they just take time to review their goals. If they need a little bit more to keep them busy, we might have them grab their visual for the goal that we're targeting in that session potentially. This really varies group to group. But I think reviewing their goals is one, very great activity to do. And then number two, it'll keep them busy as they're patiently waiting for their classmates to quickly complete their probe.

Marisha : You can get creative with the cards too. You can even add the visuals on there. Like for articulation, you can have the placement visual just ready to go. Or you can have a quick word list or something right on the card. So that's one option in terms of collecting the data. You can just have a quick word list that you run through right on the card.

Marisha : But first a lot of the goals, it's a little bit more elaborate than just saying a couple of quick words. So there are two main ways to organize the probes. So when I started doing this, I made a binder for myself and I am obsessed with the Avery Easy Index. They're just beautifully colored tabs, and they have a nice sheet in the front where you can write a little table of contents so you know what each tab means. And it's beautiful, it's functional, really great. So I'll link to some examples of that in the show notes. I then would number all of my probes and they would get stored in the binder.

Marisha : And so on each goal card, I would just write the number that that corresponds to. So if it's naming antonyms is probe number 16 in my binder, I would just write 16 on the probe card. And then I would know exactly which one to turn to, and easy peasy, ready to go. So that is kind of what that looks like for the binder. And then when I'm completing a student's IEP, I just make sure to have the goal cards ready to go so that the student can fill in their cards to review their new goals. And then I also want to make sure that I have a probe that I can use for that goal. If I don't, I need to find one or create one and add that to the binder so that I am ready to collect data on that.

Marisha : And I think that's a really key strategy, whether you're using this or a different data collection strategy, I think we really need to have a solid way to ... We need to make sure that we know how we're collecting and measuring progress on a goal, because there's nothing worse than a goal that you can't collect data on and if it's not clear whether the student met or not. That's kind of the process there. Then I've been ... As you can probably tell throughout these episodes, I'm a huge fan of digital tools to make things easier. Sometimes it's hard to flip through the binder while you're trying to collect data on your data sheet or on your computer, or it's just a lot of stuff. So I created a bunch of digital quick probes, is what we call them and these are all available on SLP Now.

Marisha : And so when I set up a student's goals, I go into the session and you can attach this in a number of ways, but I basically just attach the probe that I want to use to the student's goals. So then when I pull up that session, I have my laptop or my phone or my tablet, whatever I'm using, I go to the session and I select the goal that I want to target. So whichever one is on top for the student, and then when I open that goal, it shows the assessment that I picked for that goal. So it cannot get any easier. We have a pre-made library of a bunch of different quick probes that can easily be attached to the session. They're little slide decks essentially, and so you can just go through and collect data on them.

Marisha : The other option is to create your own. So if you want to make your own data collection, your own little quick probe, or if you want to use something that you have from Teachers Pay Teachers or something that you created over the years in a PDF, or something that you scanned in, you can also add that and attach that. And you would just click that, it would open up, you would have quick access to it and you could run through the probe and then you're good to go.

Marisha : So two options to organize the probes, a binder, or organizing it digitally. And I just gave one example of what that would look like. And then again, using goal cards to keep the process organized. And I would just make sure to put, when I have that stack, as we're putting the goals away, I want to make sure that the goal that I want to take data on next time is at the top.

Marisha : If you are doing teletherapy, you can totally still do this using Google Slides. You can share a slide deck with each student, and just have a slide for each of their goals and you can just rearrange the slides. So if you collected data on producing K in sentences, you can move that to the bottom of the list and then whatever else is next. And then the students can like review their goals and everything as you're waiting. So that's how I would implement that in a number of scenarios. If you want to check out any of the resources that I shared, you can go to our show notes at And that's a wrap for today. We'll see you next time.

Marisha : Thanks for listening to the SLP Now Podcast. If you enjoyed this episode, please share with your SLP friends and don't forget to subscribe to the podcast to get the latest episode sent directly to you. See you next time.


Hi there! I'm Marisha. I am a school-based SLP who is all about working smarter, not harder. I created the SLP Now Membership and love sharing tips and tricks to help you save time so you can focus on what matters most--your students AND yourself.

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