Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Data Collection on the iPad: Implementation

In yesterday's post, I wrote about how to set up your data collection system on the iPad.  In today's post, I want to show you how I utilize this data collection in my classroom.

We take data on all of the IEP goals in our classroom as well as other behaviors of interest.  We do not chart it all onto graphs (with 13 kids X 8 IEP goals each, we are talking about at least 104 graphs….and we don't have that kind of time!).  So, the main things I graph are my students fluency flashcards as well any significant behaviors we are tracking.  I also try and teach my students to take their own data to encourage self monitoring.  Here is one of my student's graphs for math facts.  See this post to get this free graph template.
We still take our data on paper during the day, since we only have 1 iPad with the data on it.  It would be great if we could just instantly enter the data into the spreadsheet as we went throughout our day, but we have too many kids and too many adults in the room to make that work at this point.

 All of us, me included, will use any little excuse not to take data (like "I don't have a pen," "I don't feel like walking across the room to grab the data sheet," etc.)  So why not try and make data-taking as convenient as possible?  We have our paper data stored in strategic places throughout the room.  I have clipboards velcroed to the wall at multiple stations, data sheets in binders at other stations, and even data sheets attached to my students' work binders.  I also have pencils/pens velcroed to the wall over the classroom to help ensure easy data collection. 

Every couple weeks (ideally!), we add the data to the iPad.  I have trained one of my assistants to help with this process with our fluency data.  She just has to add the info from the data sheet into the spreadsheet, and it instantly shows up on the graph.  I then use this data to decide when my kids have mastered their fluency flashcard sets and are ready to move on….or, if they have been stuck on a set for awhile, I try and come up with other interventions to help them make faster progress.  This data is also amazing to bring with you to IEP meetings with parents.  They aren't kidding when they say "a picture says a thousand words."  A graph of your data is so much easier for people to understand at a quick glance as opposed to reading each number in your table.  

Here are some real life example of my data.  This data was taken on a student's fluency of sight words in 1-minute timings.  I like this chart, because you get to see him make progress across multiple word lists.

For this graph, I charted the number of adult prompts my student required during a daily activity.  I did this, because I was trying to determine how much support he was requiring and whether or not he was a good candidate for a 1:1 assistant in the classroom.  As you can see, he was requiring between 10-20 prompts (if not more) during about a 5 minute activity…that comes out to 2-4 prompts PER MINUTE!!  Thanks to this graph (as well as other data), we were able to get this little guy a 1:1 aid…now, our goal is to teach him some independent work skills, so we can fade out all this support!  Looking forward to sharing his graph with you after this happens!
The main time I use bar graphs, is to compare my students pre/post test scores on their science tests.  This graph shows the expressive labeling scores of one of my students on the science topics we have covered so far.  The nice thing with this graph, is you can easily see that she has increased her score over the course of each month.

Hope these 2 posts have given you some great ideas for data implementation in your classroom.  It may take a little work in the beginning to set up, but it is well worth it.  You can make informed, data-based decisions on each student's learning and create an effective and efficient learning environment!


  1. Wow! I started my year with great data sheets, but filling them out regularly hasn't become a habit yet. I am encourage by this post!

    1. Glad you are encouraged! As you can see from my data, we aren't able to take it even as often as I like, but even 1-2 times a week can start to help you see patterns! It definitely took me a few years to figure out my data system...and I still make changes from year to year!

  2. What program/app are you using for graphing on the ipad?

    1. Numbers. Check out this post for more on the program!

  3. Thank you so much for sharing this post. I will definitely use it in my classroom!!!