Revisiting the Introductory Challenge

The Introductory Challenge for this unit stressed that you be clear about:

  • exactly what data you are gathering and
  • why you are gathering it.

So extinguishing inappropriate (“bad”) behavior is one purpose to gather data. But an even more important purpose is to provide direct support for academic learning goals given in IEPs or in other instructional plans.

And the same sorts of data gathering is useful for this more important purpose—data about:

  • frequency,
  • proportion,
  • duration, and
  • intensity.

Such data, for instance, might track direct evidence of academic progress:

  • increasing accuracy of rapid-response with arithmetic facts,
  • improved percentage of correct answers on spelling tests,
  • increasing length of written passages produced, or even
  • growth in reading level over many months.

And there are also a host of behaviors that help ensure academic progress:

  • preparedness (e.g., being able to produce the book, paper, pencil, etc.),
  • time-on-task when working independently,
  • attention span when listening, and
  • patience when asking for help.

If you are completing this unit along with other educators, you might find it useful to talk with one another about your various experiences collecting data relevant to academics. The following questions might help you get such a conversation started.

  1. What data have you collected and why?
  2. What did the team learn from the data you collected?
  3. Did collecting such data ever—in your experience—lead to changes in IEP or other instructional goals? Why or why not? What changes?

If you are completing this module alone, you might want to jot down your answers as you think about these questions.