How to Collect Data in Speech Therapy- Plus Freebies!
Data collection is necessary, whether you love it or hate it. These tips and freebies will make that job easier for speech therapists! And who doesn’t want their work life to be easier? Check out these tips and so. many. FREEBIES!
If you read my last post on collecting baseline data, you know that taking data is NOT always my favorite! But I have tried a lot of different ways to do it. So I brought home my binder on data collection to give you links to helpful resources.
Since the interaction with students is the best part of therapy for me, I like to keep the data part easy. Then I also have time for figuring out the best strategies, prompts, and visuals to support communication growth. It’s a win-win!
Collect baseline data on the expected end of year skills.
Think about the functional skills you’d like to see your students doing by the end of the year. Do this even before you begin therapy when you know the students and have it in your mind as you start working with new students. Take your best guess and come up with an activity to measure that endpoint. It can be a game, a worksheet, responses to a story, or a daily life activity, to name a few.
Then, see how well they do in that activity. Whether it is an activity or language sample in the speech room or an authentic assessment in the classroom, be sure to take both qualitative and quantitative data to start the year. You won’t ever go wrong having a language sample, a recording for students with speech goals, and some type of activity data for each goal.
Ready, Set, Collect Data! Assess and Make Needed Changes
Collect regular session data to document your students’ current skill levels. However, it is very easy to get involved with helping students and not notice that you frequently provide subtle cues. So, at mid-year (or earlier if students are really making progress,) give that same pretest. Or do the same activity you used at the beginning of the year.
Pay careful attention to letting students do this independently. This will let you see if they are actually learning to use the target skills without any intervention. And it still gives you time to make changes, if needed, before the end of the year. Once you’ve assessed growth levels and determined whether changes are needed, it is back to collecting data during regular speech therapy activities again.
Collecting Data Made Easy – 5 Tips
The simplest methods are when the data collection is built into the activity.
Tip 1: Picture card activities for collecting data
Get out sets of picture cards in multiples of 5. Place the correct response cards in one pile and the incorrect responses in another. Variations: stack them in different directions, place the error cards face down and the correct ones face up, set the error cards in a different location.
Tip 2: Collecting data during play.
Play a game or do an activity with pieces, like tossing balls into a hoop, throwing packing peanuts into a seasonal container, or tossing pompoms into an egg carton. Assign each student a different color and only let them take a turn if their answer is correct. At the end of 10 responses, you get a quick count as you have them clean up.
Tip 3: Sneaky data collection on worksheets.
Use numbered question lists placed in a page protector. Mark with a crayon or erasable marker right on the sheet. For students who are sensitive about mistakes, make a small dot for incorrect responses right next to the question.
Tip 4: Collecting data using 10 fun items.
- Start with a set of 10 interesting things in a pile in front of you.
- When the student answers correctly, one item goes in a pile next to him.
- If the answer is wrong, you get to keep it.
Many students will find this fun with tokens, as they are challenged to get them all away from you. Other students need the ‘interesting’ things to be something they can interact with afterward, such as different colors of crayons for a picture, the pieces to play a game as described in #2, or small toys they can play with for a minute. If your students are at this level, you might also need a container for their toys to wait in, while yours just disappear from view.
Tip 5: Collecting data by coloring.
Of course, there are the standard coloring or daubing worksheet activities that let you see the total easily, too. Try doing these using dry-erase markers with the sheets placed in page protectors to cut back on printing and photocopying.
Links to FREE Data Sheets!
Have you noticed that different activities and group sizes lend themselves better to different types of data sheets? I think so! So I asked my blogging friends on TpT to share the links to their FREE data sheets.
Please leave kind feedback if you decide to download any, as a thank you for their time and effort. This is an impressive variety of free data collection sheets, so I’m sure you will find something to suit your needs!
Bonus Tip: Collecting data in group activities.
Sometimes it seems that you never have enough hands when working with groups, right? So being able to collect all the data on one sheet can be very useful.
Set up your groups on the free data sheet in the order they are scheduled that day. Then just flip the page after the third group. You can also use one sheet for each group, listing a different goal in each section.
Download this FREE, editable data taking set with 8 different versions to meet YOUR needs!
Happy data collection!