I want to share with you a *free* system that helps me track data with some of my higher needs kiddos. Please forgive the lengthy post, but I really want this to be able to help you as well!
About a year ago, I discovered a fantastic tool to use to document daily progress on goals. The tool is called the Electronic Daily Behavior Report Card (e-DBRC). It allows me to communicate easily with parents and helps encourage student accountability. It is a free, web-based tool that was created in a joint partnership between the Texas Education Agency (TEA) and Texas A&M University.
Currently, I've only used the system for behavior monitoring, but I suspect it could be used for many other purposes (speech goals, social goals, academic goals, etc.). If your student is a visual learner and is mature enough to be involved in tracking his or her own progress, then this may be a great tool to help them take ownership of their goals. Even if your students are too young or unable to be quite so involved in the process, this is an easy way to keep parents informed about progress more often than progress notes every 9 weeks.
Finally, you are able to add parent email addresses so the daily report can either be printed and sent home or emailed home for an electronic signature.
I love that I can analyze the data by the day or across a time period of my choosing. For example, I have a 5th grade student with Asperger's who currently enters his own data for two different goals. Of course, these are not his only IEP goals, but they are the two that he is actively working on improving from day to day and has the ability to self-report.
The two goals that he is currently tracking are: time on task and what "track" he is on during each class period (referring to the Friendship Track - check it out here). He previously tracked his transition times from class to class as well. We keep a post-it note on his desk in each classroom that he attends that either my paraprofessional or the classroom teachers mark tallies for each prompt they have to give to attend to the lesson or follow directions. We gather the post-it notes from the desks and keep them in my classroom until the end of the day. Toward the end of the day, the student comes in and meets with either my paraprofessional or myself to enter the data on the computer. This allows him to self-evaluate, discuss any bumps in the road that day, celebrate his successes, set mini-goals, and visually track his progress. The program graphs his behavior across the day and gives him a final grade. He then emails his graph home to his parents.
The program also has a place to list "Critical Incidents" in Antecedent-Behavior-Consequence format. This is a helpful way to communicate those incidents to parents as well as to keep me from having to document them again in another format for data collection purposes.
On Fridays, we print out a graph that shows the entire week for documentation purposes as well.
Recently, the program came in handy when I wanted to encourage this particular student to challenge himself to improve his time on task. When I first broached the subject, he stated that he didn't think that he could do any better. I was able to quickly run the data for the entire first semester at school and show him that over the last 8 weeks or so he was consistently scoring A's based on our current rubric. When he saw the graph, he decided he did want to challenge himself by decreasing the number of prompts he could receive and still earn an "A". I loved being able to cater to his strength in math by proving his progress in graph form!
Last year, I had the experience of one student's parents frequently excusing inappropriate behaviors because he was tired or his allergies were acting up or he was having digestive problems. Obviously, all of these factors can significantly influence our kids, but I decided to track various factors twice a day for a couple of months to see if I could see any correlation between reported physical complaints and behavior. I created a Likert scale for fatigue, allergies (including "shiners" under the eyes), irritability, distractability, and slow verbal response times (latency). I quickly rated each factor once in the morning and then again in the afternoon based on the student or parent reports and my own observation. Finally, I entered all the data into eDBRC and ran the graphs. The results were surprising. I was expecting to see a correlation between behavior and fatigue and it did not exist. The parent viewpoint of allergy days being correlated to distractability and irritability were not supported either. Now, that made for an interesting parent teacher conference! Without graphing the factors, we would have continued to assume that external factors were causing difficult behaviors.
Currently, I've only used the system for behavior monitoring, but I suspect it could be used for many other purposes (speech goals, social goals, math fluency, reading fluency, etc.). If your student is a visual learner and is mature enough to be involved in tracking his own progress, then this may be a great tool to help them take ownership of their goals. Even if your students are too young or unable to be quite so involved in the process, this is an easy way to keep parents informed about progress more often than progress notes every 9 weeks.
I hope you're able to make use of the Electronic Daily Behavior Report Card in your practice!