SLP Summit - Five Mistakes to Avoid in Data Collection Q&A

Wow - what an AMAZING week we had with you! We loved co-hosting SLP Summit with Marisha from SLP Now, and are thrilled that Yapp Guru University sponsored the ASHA pre-approved CEUs. We had the opportunity to learn from some of our favorite SLPs and network with thousands of SLPs from across the world in the chat rooms, discussion boards and through social media.

If you aren't sure what I'm referring to, or didn't get a chance to sign up yet, it's not too late! You have through Thursday, August 31st to earn up to 15 hours of FREE ASHA pre-approved CEUs. Click here for more information.

Sarah and my presentation was entitled, "Five Mistakes to Avoid in Data Collection." We talked about how SLPs typically struggle with daily data collection and seem to switch up their method each year (and sometimes multiple times within the year).

We highlighted some common mistakes that are made in the data collection process, as well as some solutions for overcoming them. We also discussed the benefits of how using a digital platform like SLP Toolkit can assist you with efficiency and organization throughout the process.

We had a lot of content to go over in one hour, so we didn't have the opportunity to answer your questions related to data and SLP Toolkit during our presentation. We would like to take the time to answer those questions now.

Coupon

  • Thank you for the free trial of SLP Toolkit! One question, I know we have to redeem by August 18th, but can we choose the start date? It would be more useful when I am actually back at school with kids. Thanks again! The coupon did expire on 8/18, but has been extended to 8/25 due to technical issues with the Yapp Guru University site. SLP Summit replays have been extended through 8/31. The free month starts on the date you upgrade your subscription and apply the coupon. It may be nice to have a couple of weeks before school starts to upload your caseload and play around with the system prior to starting back, but you can email us if you think you'll need a little extra time and we will honor the coupon.

Progress Reports and Progress Monitoring Tools

  • If you have say 9 weeks between progress reports...how many data points do you use to determine percent of mastery on a goal? Info from all 9 weeks or just the last 3 or just last one? You should match data to how the goal is written (e.g. over 3 consecutive sessions, or 4 out of 5 trials at the end of the grading period).

  • Do you have tips on making sure you have baseline data for all of your goals you write during the year for initial IEPs and updates? Sometimes I don't have time after I test to get baselines unless I try to use the test info, which can be lacking. We completely understand, and this is why we love using criterion referenced tests. This is something you can incorporate during your evaluation for an initial or re-evaluation to get a baseline on a new goal (and use for successive grading periods), or as part of your annual review routine when developing a new IEP.

  • Can you give examples of criterion referenced tests as mentioned in your goals? A criterion referenced test (CRT) is used to measure a student's performance against a predetermined criteria. Teachers frequently use CRTs to evaluate whether students have learned a skill or met the expected standards. This form of measurement is an excellent way for SLPs to collect baseline data and then retest the student's performance each grading period to monitor progress for concrete skills that have a defined correct and incorrect response (e.g. articulation, answering questions, grammar). The consistency of using the same CRT to retest improves accuracy of the data. To learn more, check out our blog post here.

  • Did you establish the criteria for your CRTs and/or are they used more for a pre/post-test? Seems it may be both as I noticed there are different levels. We have banks of criterion referenced tests inside of SLP Toolkit that are leveled in difficulty by grade bands ranging from preschool to high school. You would administer a test to get a baseline score for an IEP goal and then re-administer the same test each grading period to determine progress.

  • Can you recommend any good criterion-based assessments? We love the criterion referenced tests built into SLP Toolkit as the stimulus items are leveled and the digital platform streamlines the process of completing progress reports. Anne Page of Beautiful Speech Life chronicled her experience with this method here.

  • Do criterion referenced tests used for measuring student progress hold up in court? Data holds up in court. The more of it and the more consistent it is, the better. Legal precedence has shown that "clinical judgment" in itself is not sufficient, but when supported with data both the district and the IEP team/SLP are in a better position to support their recommendations.

  • How do I access the rubric you have on your handouts? All of our rubrics are available inside of SLP Toolkit. The best way to search for rubrics is to go to the library inside of the app and type 'rubric' in the search field. To learn more about rubrics, click here.

  • I would love to use a rubric for some of my kids at the preschool level, however other SLPs I work with don't want that. How can we address this when we are passing our kids on to elementary school? IEPs should be designed to best support the individualized needs of a student, not adult convenience. Rubrics are typically used for goals that are less concrete and offer a broader interpretation of progress for hard to measure goals. Go with what makes sense to you, and if a receiving SLP isn't interested in using the rubric you selected, they can talk to the family/team, argue their case for why, and amend the goal if the team is in agreement.

Data Collection in General

  • So when you are moving up in difficulty how do you account for that in data/goals? Data is always driven by what you need it for. If it is data for a progress report, it should match how the goal is written. If it is for driving what you're doing in your next therapy session, it would include any information you need to make effective treatment decisions.

  • Why take 50 data points? Why not just the first 10 each session? It is a much more stable method of determining real progress. Kids get better as you work on a task during a session. I think you're referring to the comment that Sarah made about how no one loves to average out 50 talley marks. This may not be appropriate for all goals, but you would take that many (or more) when you're addressing areas such as intelligibility or fluency which require a larger sample size for purposeful data.

  • Why do you take data at the beginning rather than the end of your therapy session? Taking it at the beginning of a session is a great way to ensure that you actually take some data. It can be challenging to take data in real time, especially when there is a lot of instruction happening. Taking it at the beginning means you can put it aside and focus on therapy! That being said, you do want to consider the 'why' you need the data. If you are trying to get some data on current use of a skill before practicing a skill, then you will want to take the data before instruction. But if you need data on how a student responds to a certain strategy, you may want to take data points at the beginning of the session and again at the end.

  • Have you ever used percentages for cueing? I did this in a SNF and thought it would be great in a school. We have built in a way to track 'Elicited Accuracy' in our daily data feature. To read more about that, you can access our tutorial here.

  • Any help for large caseloads and also multiple buildings? The larger your caseload and the more spread out you are, the more streamlined your paperwork process in general has to be so you're not leaving things at one site or relying on paper that you easily lose. That's one of the reasons we created SLP Toolkit so you always have what you need no matter where you're at.

  • What are your suggestions for getting started with using teacher and assistants to help gather data? I feel like if I give them a paper to fill out, it is likely to get lost and they have so much to focus on already that it would be a struggle to get buy-in. What do you suggest to start collecting data this way? With any type of collaboration, the first step is always a relationship. I always try to put the shoe on the other foot. If someone walked into my office and told me I had to do something and walked out, I wouldn't necessarily put it at the top of my to-do list either. So I would start with someone you already have a relationship with. Meet in person and have a conversation, provide some foundation for why this would benefit the students in the class, create data sheets that make sense for all involved, and brainstorm ways to incorporate data collection in a way that can easily be implemented. It may take a bit of legwork initially and some active problem solving, but most teachers will work on this if they feel it is not one-sided responsibility and you're working on everything together as a team.

  • Can you share more info about taking data with prompts? We have built in a way to track 'Elicited Accuracy' in our daily data feature. To read more about that, you can access our tutorial here.

  • Any ideas for 'folder games' or other activities for keeping one student occupied while collecting data for another in a telepractice model? I don't love using worksheets in therapy but when I need to collect data on one student and keep the other students working I do use them. I try not to give them busy work that has no benefit, so a worksheet that targets their goals is often better than a coloring page. (Now don't get me wrong there are times when I'm in a hurry and a coloring page is all I have :) I have a lot of materials but if I need something specific I may also Google worksheets for _____. For example, if they are working on past tense -ed I will find a fill in the blank or activity that targets that skill. If you have students in the same place it's great to set up centers or games they can work on together. Other times I might use a craft that requires problem solving or will be used later in the activity. For example I may give them some playdough and tell them I need them to create three objects that start with their sound, or give them a craft without any instructions or materials and tell them I want them to be a detective and figure out what they need to do and they can't talk to anyone :) I have also created mini workbooks that they work on each session independently that has a variety of language skills (i.e. name a synonym for _____, write a sentence with the word _____, what part of speech is _____.) And then I would post the targets on the board for that day.

Digital Data Collection

  • Do you use apps like SeeSaw with video portfolios/data collection? If yes, how? We have not used SeeSaw.

  • What are these online data systems that allow you to see graphing of data? SLP Toolkit includes graphing of both daily data and quarterly progress reports.

  • Do you take digital data on an iPad or a computer? Both - it depends on the age of the group, the data I need to collect, and what I have available.

  • Is there a device that we can verbally say, "Alexa, record 6/10 correct productions for John"? No, but wouldn't that be great?

Goals

  • When you are talking about mega-goals, are you talking about annual goals or individual objectives which are more specific? Any goal can potentially be a mega-goal, whether it be an annual goal or an objective. If it includes multiple skills, is vague, or is hard to measure, it is likely a mega-goal.

  • How do you decide which skills are the most important so that you can break down the goals, but address enough of the deficits? For students with complex needs (or when an advocate/lawyer is coming to the meeting :) I like to map out needs, goals, and recommended service time on this Meaningful IEP Worksheet. This really helps clarify for me what is showing up in my data as well as the classroom, and then determine which of those needs require goals and which can be met through accommodations. If there are multiple skills I can hit with one goal (e.g. address deficits in vocabulary using a goal related to EET, or address deficits in story grammar, sentence generation, and main idea through something like a story retell) that is more beneficial than writing them all out as individual goals.

  • For type of support provided, what is considered minimal, moderate and maximal support? There is no concrete definition of these levels of support. Since they are qualitative terms, you must define them for yourself and then make sure that (1) you take data consistently matching how you define these, and (2) this is clearly defined in any goals you write. I prefer not to use terms like that in my goals and instead specifically write the level of support I expect for goal mastery (e.g. independent, with one visual cue, with a hand under hand prompt).

  • What is the difference between prompts and cues? Some therapists say the terms are interchangeable and others say they are different. I love this resource from the Texas Education Agency. They state: "The difference between a cue and a prompt may be confusing and is really related to the degree to which the student is assisted. A cue is just a hint and does not lead the student to a direct answer. A prompt is much more invasive as it takes the student step-by-step through the task leading to a direct answer." More detailed explanation can be found by clicking on the link above.

  • On your goals you used a lot of percentages. Our district has started moving away from percentage, and using first trial opportunities or a specific number of trials per day. Are you seeing data move that way too? Every student needs to have individualization in their IEP plan, so there are some students where goals are better suited for trials, others for percentages, and others for rubrics. I would always advocate for what makes the best sense for the student and if I'm told I have to do it one way, I would ask for more clarification on the 'why' behind the decision and offer information on how this may not make the most sense for all students on your caseload.

  • Do you use Easy IEP or a similar online IEP generator? If so...do you use the progress report template on Easy IEP or do you use your own template for progress reports? In recent years, I have only worked in districts where progress reports where generated through IEP software. I use the information from our criterion referenced tests, rubrics, or daily data to input into the IEP software my district uses.

  • Can you give a few more specific goal targets that criterion referenced tests might work best for, besides the wh-questions? Thanks! Criterion referenced tests are best used for skills that are concrete, such as articulation goals, grammar goals (regular plural -s, is/are verb-ing), questions (wh-, yes/no), categorization (name 3..., what group is 'blank' in) or any skill that has a definite correct or incorrect response.

  • How do you differentiate between levels of difficulty when writing goals? For example, some yes/no questions are harder than others. Difficulty of stimulus items definitely plays into how a student performs in both therapy sessions and on criterion referenced tests. When developing our tests, we used developmental norms as far as they went, and analyzed different curriculum and grade level standards across the country to create a leveling system for stimulus items.

  • For progress reports that are written from rubrics and criterion referenced tests, do the IEP goals need to be written to reference them? It is best to say that and attach the test to the IEP so it can easily be implemented by someone else if the student transfers to another school. Criterion referenced tests and rubrics are a form of SLP data, so if it could be interpreted that these are suitable for goals written 'as measured by SLP data' also.

  • Hello! Just wanted to ask how you use your data to inform writing of new IEP goals especially when the student has met all of his/her goals. We like to use the Present Level Assessments inside of SLP Toolkit to determine current communication levels and to make new treatment recommendations for annual IEP reviews. You can read more about Present Level Assessments here.

Medicaid

  • If you are documenting for Medicaid, does your data have to be daily and in terms of percentages? Can the data be weekly or biweekly? Medicaid requires documentation for every session. Documentation does not always mean quantitative data. Qualitative data is data. That being said what is required can be interpreted a bit differently state by state. In Arizona for example, Medicaid requires the SLP/SLPA's name, student's name and date of birth, session start time, amount of therapy time in minutes, goals targeted in the session, student progress toward the targeted goals, and a signature. Check with your state's Medicaid auditing service for more information on what is required by them.

SLP Toolkit

  • If you do the monthly cost for SLP Toolkit, can you hold the payment for the summer months if you don't work during the summer? The yearly plan goes for an annual year (e.g. 8/18/2017 - 8/17/2018). The monthly plan is offered for those who aren't quite ready to commit to a year or for those who need a flexible payment method. If a subscription is cancelled during summer months, the data associated with the account is deleted. This is for security of student data as well as the cost associated with data storage.

  • Is the SLP Toolkit server secure? Yes! We take data security very seriously. You can read more about that here.

  • Is there an app for SLP Toolkit? There is not an iOS or Android app for SLP Toolkit. It is considered a web-based app, or software as a service (SaaS), and is accessible from any web-enabled device.

  • Can you use SLP Toolkit with an iPad? As long as the iPad has internet connectivity through WiFi or a personal hotspot, you can use it to access SLP Toolkit.

  • How much is SLP Toolkit? Subscriptions are $19 per month on the monthly plan, or $180 for a yearly subscription.

  • Does SLP Toolkit have the ability to add in levels of prompting with accuracy? Yes! You can read more about our daily data feature here.

  • Can you have multiple tallies going at a time? Yes you can take data on multiple goals and students at the same time. Just make sure you click on the frequency counter associated with the goal that you are taking data on every time. For example, if I am taking data on 3 different goals I will click on the frequency counter, take data, go to another goal and click on that frequency counter, take data, and then go back to the other frequency counter.

  • Can you use SLP Toolkit if the internet goes out for some reason? At this time, an internet connection is required for use of the app. We will be working on an offline version in the future.

  • My groups are not consistent and based highly on who is present on any given day. Do you have to set groups or can you substitute students into different groups? The schedule helps for SLPs who have set schedules as events with those students will pre-populate in the daily data section; however, at any time you can create an event and select the students you are working with from the drop down menu of students.

  • Can you use your data template with teletherapy? We don't see why not. You would need to access SLP Toolkit on a device separate from the one you are using to work with the student, such as an iPad.

  • Is there a trial for SLP Toolkit? I would love to try the digital data keeping. You can create a free trial at any time to use SLP Toolkit with up to 5 students, with access to all content but not all features. If you would like to try the full subscription, you can take advantage of our SLP Summit coupon, giving you one free month on us, by using the case sensitive coupon code: Summit2017

  • Can you type in your own goals or do you have to use them from the goal bank in the program? Absolutely! You can save goals not in our system into your own personal toolbox to use for other students; or, you can copy and paste a goal for a one time use into the text box at the bottom of the screen in the goal creation page, hit 'Create' and then that goal will appear under the student's list of active goals.

  • Does SLP Toolkit allow you to take data on rubrics digitally? You can use the rubrics for progress monitoring digitally, but they are not incorporated into the daily data section.

  • How many students does SLP Toolkit allow you to track data on? Is it easy to modify throughout the year? Your caseload inside of SLP Toolkit is not capped. The caseload feature allows you to easily add, delete and edit student information easily throughout the year.

  • Are there rubrics available in SLP Toolkit? Yes - many! To access them, you must select a student from your caseload, go to the 'Progress Monitoring' section, select 'Library', and you can see and search for all progress monitoring tools, including rubrics and criterion referenced tests.

  • If you use SLP Toolkit to collect data, can you share or print that data? My schools require data collection records at the end of the year. Thank you! You are able to print (and graph!) data for any time period you select.

Miscellaneous

  • I clicked on the lesson plan template attached to this presentation but could not save it. It looked like a screen shot not a file. Can we get this in a different format? The lesson plan template referenced in our course is a Google Sheet. To access it, use this link. To make your own editable copy, follow the directions in orange at the top of the document.

Still have questions? Contact us anytime by emailing hello@slptoolkit.com. We can't wait to see you again at the next SLP Summit, coming to you in January 2018!

-Lisa

I co-created the innovative web app SLP Toolkit. Sarah and I are school SLPs who are passionate about streamlining workload so time can be spent where it counts - with students: www.slptoolkit.com

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About Lisa
Arizona Website
I've been an SLP for almost 20 yrs & have worked in TN, the USVI, AZ & CA. I've completed a 1/2 marathon, skydived, skied, bungee jumped, paraglided & scuba dived. I'm a rock star mom & entrepreneur.