Confession: I’ve gone through about 4,321 different systems for data collection. There isn’t one system that has worked across all of the settings I’ve worked–especially when it comes to monitoring progress. It varies depending on a number of factors, such as the context of therapy and the requirements of the setting.
That said, there are some things that do stay the same across settings. One of those things is consistent data! When I write a goal for a student, I make sure I have a clear plan as to what I’m going to measure and how.
Since I transitioned to a contextualized approach, this got a little trickier! I started using a “hybrid” approach. I still wanted “clean” data, but it was also important to monitor the level of scaffolding that I was providing to students.
In any given session, I monitor the level of support provided to a student. I created a rubric to make sure I was being consistent. (Enter your name and e-mail below, and I’ll send a copy your way!) I track the level of scaffolding in SLP Now.
The biggest challenge is to make sure that you’re providing adequate levels of support. It’s fairly obvious if you’re not providing enough support, because the student’s accuracy will be low and his/her frustration level will be high. I’m constantly monitoring myself to make sure I don’t provide too much support. That’s where probes come in…
If I give a probe and the student scores 90% accuracy, then I need to make sure that I’m giving the student the opportunity to demonstrate that skill independently (and back off of the support).
If I give a probe and the student scores 60% accuracy, then the student would likely benefit from a minimal level of support in therapy. (Reference the Level of Support rubric for a description of this level of support.) If I look at my data and I’ve been giving maximal levels of support in therapy, then I take a minute to evaluate and figure out why.
Note: This isn’t an exact science! The level of support required will vary depending on a number of factors. The probes, however, are a good check.
Now let’s get to the good stuff… Organization! Here’s a peek at how I organize all of the pieces: