What to Do Next? Decisions from Data
Ms. Kathy worries about Jaylen’s early literacy development. Ms. Carol is concerned about Dominique’s peer interaction skills. Mr. Nick hasn’t seen enough improvement in Trevor’s participation in classroom activities, even after months of working with him.
All teachers want to see children progress. They want to be prepared when a consulting teacher or therapist asks them to take detailed data on a child’s Individualized Education Program (IEP) objective. But some teachers may wonder how to choose the best (and simplest) way to track progress for individual children. Others may be confused about how to make sense of the data after it’s recorded.
In this article from Young Exceptional Children, read how these three teachers learn better ways to collect data, choose the right measurement tool, and interpret data to inform their teaching decisions. The Division for Early Childhood (DEC) and Sage Publications have enabled free access to Improving Child Outcomes with Data-Based Decision Making: Collecting Data, through July 31, 2014.
Take a Look
The Documentation Habit
We all know it’s important to find out how well children are learning. But what does data collection and documentation look like in the classroom? You can see best practices in action, on a variety of early learning subjects, from the Results Matter Video Library. In the short video, Documentation as a Habit, three preschool teachers share how they use their favorite data collection methods in their classrooms.
Try It Out!
Three Great Ideas
This month we talked with Mary McLean, Kellner Professor, Department of Exceptional Education, University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, and two regional field specialists from the National Center on Quality Teaching and Learning (NCQTL): Mala Sablok, (Region IV), and Chris Sciarrino, (Region VIII). We asked them for their favorite tips on collecting data in the classroom and here’s what they said:
Write the child’s name and learning targets on sticky notes (or mailing labels) in advance, so you can quickly add tally marks or an anecdotal note to them, as you observe throughout the day. Then, you can easily place them in the child’s folder or portfolio for review later.
Use an activity matrix to plan the best times to observe for particular skills throughout the day. Remember to consider accommodations or adaptations to activities that a child might need to be able to participate.
If possible, keep a camera, digital tablet, or smart phone handy, so you can be ready to quickly record those great examples of a child’s skills. Photos or videos can be saved to analyze later or share with families.
View the NCQTL in-service suite Activity Matrix: Organizing Learning throughout the Day for more information. It shows how you can also use this effective tool to plan learning opportunities for children who need additional support.
Improve Your Practice
Check out a 15-minute In-service Suite from NCQTL: Using Checklists
Children with special needs benefit greatly when their instruction is carefully planned, and their progress is monitored in detail. Checklists are one of the methods that teachers use to focus on specific skills for an individual child. In Ongoing Assessment: Using Checklists, you’ll learn to create simple, clear checklists for systematically monitoring a whole class goal, a small group of children, or an individual child’s learning objective.
Easy Ways to Record Your Child’s Progress
Did your child just say a new word? Teachers aren’t the only ones who can record progress. Families can also play a major role! Start with an easy-to-use system. Write down those new words in a notebook to share with your child’s teacher. Take videos or photos of your child coloring or finding letters in a book. For simple, fun, everyday activities that also teach math, reading, and language skills, see Parents and Families as Teachers, on the Early Childhood Learning and Knowledge Center (ECLKC) website. Milestone Moments, from the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), lists developmental milestones for children from 2 months to 5 years of age. These guidelines can help you share with your child’s teacher the growth and learning you see at home.
The 2014 National Early Childhood Inclusion Institute takes place in Chapel Hill, NC, at the Friday Center,
The Division for Early Childhood’s 30th Annual International Conference on Young Children with Special Needs and their Families takes place in St. Louis, MO, at the Renaissance St. Louis Grand Hotel, Oct. 7–9.
We Want to Hear from You!
The Head Start Disabilities Services Newsletter is produced monthly by NCQTL. Contact Kristin Ainslie at firstname.lastname@example.org to submit questions or suggestions for future newsletter topics.