Principle 9: Evaluate Your Programming Efforts on a Continual Basis Transcript
How do you know if a child is progressing? How do you know when you need to make changes to a child's program? How do you know when a goal has been met? One word, data, can answer all of these questions. The word data evokes many different emotions for teachers and parents. Unfortunately, data is a necessary component of effective programming. Data collection provides a concrete, objective means of assessing progress.
Here are some thoughts on data ...
Identify, with your team, what you want to collect on. It is not necessary to collect on everything. A rule of thumb is to make sure you are collecting data on one objective per goal.
Make it easy. If you make your data collection system cumbersome, you won't use it. Most data can be permanent product or event recording. Permanent product is exactly what it says. It is permanent documentation. It could be a handwriting sample or it could be a video clip of a child interacting at recess.
Event recording is the number of time the behavior occurs. Counting behavior can be as easy as making a tally mark on a data sheet. One method I like to use for event recording is switching rubber bands from one wrist to the other. When a behavior occurs, I take one rubber band off of my left wrist and put it on my right wrist. At the end of the observation time, I simply count the number of rubber bands on my right wrist and record it on the data sheet.
Many other types of data can be collected to show the progress that a child is making. The value of data collection will become obvious as it is used to make effective program decisions. Slowly build time for data collection into the daily schedule and it will become second nature.
Remember, data collection holds the key to evaluating whether or not a child is making progress and achieving programmatic goals!