Data Collection for Individual Education Plan Implementation

Good IEP Goals Are Measurable and Provide Valuable Information

Data collection on a weekly basis is essential to providing feedback, evaluating a student's progress and protecting you from due process. Good IEP goals are written so that they are both measurable and achievable. Goals that are vague or are not measurable should probably be rewritten. The golden rule of writing IEP's is to write them so anyone can measure the student's performance.

A data collection form for IEP performance tasks. Websterlearning

Goals that are written to measure a student's performance on particular tasks can be measured and recorded by comparing the total number of tasks/probes and the correct number of tasks/probes.  This can even work for reading accuracy: the child reads 109 of 120 words in a reading passage correctly: the child has read the passage with 91% accuracy.Other performance task IEP goals:

  • John Pupil will correctly add 16 of 20 mixed two digit addition (with and without regrouping) problems in three of four consecutive trials.
  • Sally Student will correctly answer 8 of 10 what questions for a reading passage at her independent reading level.

Printer Friendly Version of this Performance Data Sheet More »

When a goal includes the specific tasks a student should complete, those tasks should actually be on the data collection sheet. If it's math facts (John will correctly answer math facts for addition with sums from 0 to 10) the math facts should either be checked off, or a place should be created on the data sheet where you can write the facts that John got incorrect, in order to drive instruction.


  • Donny Schoolkid will correctly read 80 percent of first grade Dolch High Frequency Words three of four consecutive trials. 
  • Julie Classmate will correctly answer 16 of 20 addition facts (80%) for addends between 0 and 10 in 3 of four consecutive trials.

Printer Friendly ​Data Sheet More »

Trial by trial data collection
Trial by trial data collection. Websterlearning

Discrete Trials, the instructional cornerstone of Applied Behavior Analysis, requires ongoing and discrete data collection. The free printable data sheet I provide here should work well for those explicit skills you may teach in an Autism classroom.

Printer Friendly Date Sheet for Discrete Trials More »

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Data for Behavior

There are three kinds of data collected for behavior: frequency, interval, and duration. Frequency tells you how often a behavior appears. Interval tells you how often the behavior appears over time, and duration tells you how long the behavior may last. Frequency measures are good for self-injurious behavior, defiance, and aggressions. Interval information is good for disruptive behaviors, self-stimulatory or repetitive behavior. Duration behavior is good for tantrumming, avoidance, or other behaviors.

This is a pretty straightforward measure. This form is a simple schedule with time blocks for each 30 minute period over a five day week. You simply need to make a tally mark for each time the student exhibits the target behavior. This form can be used to both create a baseline for your ​Functional Behavioral Analysis. There is space at the bottom of each day to make notes about the behavior: does it increase during the day? Are you seeing particularly long or difficult behaviors?

  • Johnny Crackerjack will reduce self injurious head banging to fewer than three episodes per week over two consecutive weeks.
  • Joanne Ditzbach will decrease her defiant behavior to 2 or fewer episodes per day.

Printer Friendly Data Frequency Sheet  More »

Interval Measures are used to observe declines in target behavior. They are also used to create a baseline, or pre-intervention data to indicate what a student did before an intervention is put into place.

  • Colin Pupil will reduce self stimulatory behavior (hand flapping, foot tapping, tongue clicking) to fewer than 2 per hour interval as observed by staff, three of four consecutive trials.
  • Johnny Crackerjack will exhibit 2 or fewer disruptive vocalizations over a 3 hour period, three of four consecutive interval probes.

Printer Friendly Interval Data Record More »

Duration Goals are set to decrease the length (and usually, concurrently, the intensity) of some behaviors, such as tantrumming. Duration observations can also be used to observe the increase in some behaviors, such as on task behavior. The form attached to this posting is designed for each occurrence of a behavior, but can also be used for the increase of behavior during set periods. A Duration observation notes the beginning and ending of a behavior as it happens, and establishes the length of the behavior. Over time, the duration observations should show a decline in both the frequency and the length of the behavior.​

  • Joanne will decrease the length of her tantrums to 3 or less minutes over three of four consecutive weekly probes.
  • John will stay in his seat with hands and feet to himself for 20 minutes as observed using a duration tool, over three consecutive observations by school staff.

Printer Friendly Duration Goal Chart More »

If you seem to have difficulty choosing a data collection sheet, it may be that your IEP goal is not written in a way that it is measurable. Are you measuring something you can measure either by counting responses, tracking behaviors or evaluating work product? Sometimes creating a rubric will help you successfully identify the areas where your student needs to improve: sharing the rubric will help the student understand the behavior or skill you wish to see him or her exhibit. More »