The 3 Most Common Mistakes in Data Tracking

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So data tracking is one of those necessary evils for all interventionists, special educators, speech language pathologists…we all can commiserate together.

But it’s one of those things that is just absolutely critical to determine whether or not students are growing and making progress in their intervention setting. We see students who are struggling and have gaps and we need to make sure those gaps are in fact closing.

So on top of all the other things we are managing in our intervention setting, from behavior management, to lesson introduction and skill targeting (check out our blog here all about skill targeting), we need to be tracking and monitoring data during our sessions.

So here are the three biggest mistakes we often see when supporting special education teams and interventionists…and no judgement here because we’ve #beenthere

1. Not taking data or having no clear system

So we totally understand this, we are juggling all the things that need to get done in a session and it’s easy to think we will just jot down some notes after the sessions are done. But let’s be honest, it’s just not going to happen if we don’t take data in the session.

We all have the best intentions, we think we will remember but with everything we have going on - we just won’t. Sometimes, if I don’t have a data tracking sheet…I won’t be able to remember something literally minutes after the session is over!

Data Tracking Post ITs

If you have multiple students you are trying to juggle you have to have a system in place. Even if you don’t have multiple students you need to have a system in place. Having a clear system of what you track and how you track it allows you to be effective even when you were less organized or prepared than you had hoped. If you have a system and realize you forgot your data tracking sheet, it’s no big deal because you can in a pinch write everything out on a scratch piece of paper. But if you don’t have a system in place…that is just not happening!


2. Having all of your students on different systems so you never have a sense of calm

We get it students have different goals. But…we need ONE system, ONE process for all of them. The numbers you are tracking might look different for each student but the way in which you are tracking data needs to look the same. Best case scenario you have a group that’s really well aligned and are all working on the same skills in which case it’s nice and easy. Your data tracking can look something like this:

Normal case scenario, everyone is working on something different and your data tracking ends up looking something more like this:

But as you can see, the system for marking the data is still the same.

And the last mistake, which we’ve made over and over by the way:


3. Not having a clear organization system so by the time you need to report on data you can't actually find it.

We’ve ALL BEEN HERE…don’t pretend you haven’t at least once when you get into your session, sit down, and realize you don’t have a data tracking sheet that you need to be collecting the data that will help you continue to refine your instruction and intervention. So then, you grab a sticky note, write down everything you can capture from the session and by the time you need to complete your reporting, you can’t find it. So once and for all, let’s put an end to this madness!

Make sure you have a binder that you can use for data tracking and session notes only. This is going to be the place where you track data for ALL of your students so it is critical you have this binder at all times.

Here is how we are going to set it up:

  1. Make sure you have a number of extra data sheets in the front of your notebook.

  2. Create a tab for each group or student on your caseload. If you are doing a group session, use a group data tracking form…too difficult to use an individual data tracking form for students that are in a group.

  3. Use ALIGNED progress monitoring resources that will specifically meet your goals. This means you need to have well written goals! The more aligned your goals, progress monitoring resources, and data tracking tools are - the easier it will be when you need to report on progress.

Want to grab our data tracking sheets?

Check them out here at our TPT Shop!

Wanting to learn more about this process? Join us on March 13th for a LIVE workshop where we will be talking all about data tracking in your literacy intervention sessions!

Corey PollardComment