Data collection can be hard, so you should take some load off of yourself and utilize your paraprofessionals for taking meaningful data! However, you can't expect to hand a data sheet to a para and get good data... Here are a few tips to ensure that your paras are able to take GOOD data.
1) Train your paras!
I know this might sound crazy and simple, but you should thoroughly train your paras to take data before you expect them to do it! If you use different data sheets for different students, behaviors, or IEP goals, make sure you go over all the data sheets, keys on the sheets, and how often you want them taking data. Here's a link to a super basic training I did with my paras a few weeks ago. You can see, download and edit the training PPT I used here.
2) Post visuals to reinforce prompt levels
If you're a center-based/ self-contained teacher like me, you can't just take data on whether or not a kiddo did something. In my classroom, the level of prompt needed for the student to emit the answer/ response is super important so that we can show growth. If you have to record the level of prompting that a kiddo needs to give a response, make sure you teach paras about the different prompts, the hierarchy and then post visuals around the classroom to reinforce the idea. If you want to save time, you can download the visuals for free here.
3) Simplify your data sheets
Something that can make data easier for your paras AND you is to do little steps to simplify your data collection sheets. Just think... the less writing required, the easier data collection is! So try to make sheets that can be completed by circling a prompt/code or just writing an abbreviation.
4) KISS- Keep It Super Simple
At the end of the day, make sure you create a data collection system that is easy for YOU and your paraprofessionals. If you don't keep it simple, everyone will be reluctant to take data and when data is taken, it will likely not be as reliable.
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