Wouldn’t it be nice if you could work with your students and not worry about collecting data? How great would it be if we could just do therapy all day, teach discrete skills and strategies, with no worries about the dreaded data! Unfortunately, data is very important and must be collected.

How many times do you stop after the student’s response to record the data?

How often do you keep data and not let the students see what you are writing? Most of the time, they know you are writing down how they did. Why not just let them see it? Better yet, have you ever let them keep their own data?


No matter the age or exceptionality, students can do it. We have had success with students keeping their own data as young as kindergarten and as low as Mildly Intellectually Disabled; but we are sure younger or lower functioning students may also have some success.

Are you wondering how?

data sheet

Provide each student with a data sheet set up in blocks of ten (like this product, free for a limited time). Have the student put a + (plus) for correct and a 0 (zero) for incorrect responses – or whatever code you and the student decide on. We have found that students understand a zero much better than a minus By having the data sheet set up in blocks of 10, you can easily figure out the % at a glance.


Let’s think about a student working on articulation… After each sound/word/sentence you can talk with the student about the production and help them determine which code they should enter.

Of course this does not just have to be utilized with articulation. It works just as well with language skills!

At the end of the session the information can be transferred to a bar graph completed by the student. Our students love this part. They get to choose their own color and have a visual representation of how they performed. You can discuss how they did from session to session – did they improve or have the same level of success? Or maybe they were having an ‘off’ day. Think of all the additional language (and math) concepts you can include in this conversation – more/less, higher/lower, same/different!

Just be sure that you talk about each students’ graphs and performance in comparison to themselves – it is not a contest among students as they each work at their own pace and are at varying levels on a variety of skills!

The students really enjoy keeping their own data. And of course they are motivated to get as many plus signs and as high a graph as possible! It also provides that great visual of how they are doing with their goals – they can even bring a copy home to their parents.

How do you involve your students in data collection?

Be sure you check out these forms and many others on our TpT store.



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