This is part 4 of my Community Based Instruction Series.
Taking data on community based instruction is important. This allows us to determine how students are generalizing their goals from the classroom to the community, and allows you to pinpoint areas that need growth and more explicit instruction.
Your data and goals will vary significantly based on student. Review Part 1 to see some goal ideas. Here are a few pieces of information to consider.
1. You don’t need to track EVERY goal on EVERY trip.
Depending on your trip, it is natural to focus more on some goals than others. For example, if you are going to the zoo and walking around, you may take data on social greetings, appropriate behavior, etc. If you are going to the store to buy items, you may want to be sure to take data for the student’s purchasing goal.
2. Instructional Assistants can take data too
This is literally the only way it is feasible for me to truly track each of my student’s progress on trips. I match my students with IAs (and some with myself). I will communicate this information with my IAs ahead of time, go over the data sheet I would like them to fill out, and take any questions.
TIP: I ALWAYS leave a note area in my data sheets so that the IAs can write more anecdotal notes if they are unsure of how to mark a skill.
On this note, make sure you’re playing to your instructional assistants’ strengths. If they are stronger with specific students or specific skills, take that into consideration.
3. Data can be taken in many different ways
For example, you could:
- Have a table on a clipboard for data
- Have masking tape on your sleeve and use a pen to make tallies
- Use Google Forms on your phone
In a real-world setting like this, what truly matters is that you know what your data means. You can make it look all pretty and make sense to others after the trip, but don’t get hung up on that during your trip! It will become frustrating and unrealistic.
Attach table to student’s shopping list. IAs can quickly write down information and we can meet later to discuss.
4. Give yourself grace!
THE MOST IMPORTANT take-away is to be patient with yourself. It will take a few tries to find a data collection system that works for you, your staff, your students, and the setting. Reach out to your co-workers, support staff, therapists, if you need help!
Feel free to e-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org to talk through your situation as well 🙂