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Course Spotlight

In this 15-minute course, you will learn:

• What data is used for in special education
• Where data is sourced from
• What teachers should be looking for in the classroom
• What to do when a teacher expects delays
• How FERPA impacts data collection

Taking the Stress Out of Data Analysis

Does keeping up with all of the data you have to collect every day leave you feeling overwhelmed? How do you determine the best way to use this data effectively? With Keys to Special Education – Data Analysis, you’ll understand exactly how to collect and analyze data in a meaningful way to lower stress and create the best outcomes for your students.

More than Numbers

Data collection is a crucial part of educating students with disabilities. It helps teachers to accurately monitor and measure goals and growth over time. When you consistently gather data, you’ll be able to track students’ academic progress as well as functional performance such as behavior and social skills.

During IEP meetings, data plays a key role in determining the best way to help students succeed. This information allows educators to make adjustments to their classroom instruction. It also informs teachers of any additional support required to meet students’ needs.

Special education teacher Ayo Jones illustrates the importance of data analysis in the classroom. She is a veteran educator, author, and founder of Noodle Nook – an online resource for teachers in special education. Jones explains, “It’s not about the quantity of data that counts as much as how that data is used to meaningfully adjust instruction and interventions for the student.”

Applying Data

So what exactly is this data used for? First and foremost, it helps identify students’ needs. Once you conduct individual assessments, you can accurately pinpoint learning gaps. Classroom instruction and interventions are adjusted for improvements.

Data is also used to discover potential learning roadblocks. If a student’s learning is negatively impacted, you can tailor your instruction to set them up for success. Classroom-wide data focuses on how teaching strategies can be improved for the benefit of all students, rather than a select few.

Specially Designed Instruction (SDI) is informed by data taken on student performance. This ensures that students are provided with the materials they need, and teachers can adjust their instructional practices to best support them. Formative assessments supply data on potential learning gaps so teachers can make immediate changes to their instruction and interventions.

Data Determination

Jones emphasizes how “It’s essential that we are pulling information from multiple sources to make data-based decisions.” The student’s initial evaluation data, or FIE, provides a list of delays such as abstract reasoning or short-term memory recall. IEP progress monitoring data offers insights into the instructional supports’ effectiveness and the rate of student learning.

Benchmark and classroom assessments help address learning gaps and performance delays. Observations and performance rubrics allow you to record data from observed behaviors and skills. Remember to ensure that the data is relevant, bias-free, and taken consistently.

Grade-level vertical alignment and standard frameworks help to target instruction for a student’s modified curriculum. State assessments provide data on peer performance in special education. When you gather data from many sources, you’ll have the tools you need to make well-informed, data-driven decisions and promote student success.


Interested in learning more about how you can make better data-driven decisions? Explore the course demo on Keys to Special Education – Data Analysis today!

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