We’re back today and excited to be back! Our official Spring Break started off with an architecture convention, family time, and making progress on several small projects.
Data is the bane of every paraeducator’s day. It is often the ‘one more thing’ you have on top of trying to stay on top of while heading off behaviors, encouraging academic growth, and improving social skills. Data is the proof that inclusion is working or progress in specific IEP goals is occurring at all.
Data is also incredibly important if the student is transitioning to the next campus. Data demonstrates that things have “not always just happened” with the student. It provides a physical history that a student has had a specific behavior or lack of progress academically or that there was growth and there is a trend over the course of the year to backslide for certain reasons. Data stems the distrust from campus to campus in a district from when the campus that receives a student transferring in from saying, “They just play fast and loose with grades and expectations.”
There are some reminders about written data collection:
- Be objective. You don’t know if the student was upset or that she was happy. Affect and actual emotion for many students don’t often match. Write instead “Appeared happy/upset.” Or better yet: does your student use Zones or some other scale of measuring their feelings?
- Sometimes the behavior you are tracking is your own. Did you really wait two minutes? Did you prompt twenty times or five times in a classroom?
- Track good consequences and bad consequences. For example, when you did not prompt the third time, a classmate instead chose to prompt and the student got their notebook to the correct page then without any additional prompts from either you, the classroom teacher, or the classmate.
- Be consistent with your data: Choose once a week or once a month to keep up on the data.
- Keep track of the things you have changed. Did you add a sensory break this month? Did you forget to replace the fidget that disintegrated from over use?
- Praise students for their progress. Especially in the moment. A thumbs up. A little more independence. A smile. Not every praise involves a pat on the back, “Good job buddy!”, or a secret handshake.
- Keep taking Data. You will get better at it. You will not die in a sea of papers.
Are you interested in participating as a Guest Blogger for ParaEducate? Do you have a question for us? Find ParaEducate online here, here, here and here. ParaEducate is company interested in providing materials, information, and strategies for people working in special education inclusion settings for grades K-12. ParaEducate, the blog, is published weekly during the academic school year on Thursdays, unless a holiday. ParaEducate shares their findings at conferences, through their books, and their academic adaptations.