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Do you use file folders for organizing student data?

Imagine walking into the next IEP meeting with all the progress monitoring and assessment data you need at your fingertips.

Organizing student data sheets and additional IEP data can be a daunting task without the right tools. As a special education teacher, I feel like I've tried every data folder organization system there is – sometimes twice – and there's always pros and cons to each. 

Data File Organization – Here's what I was looking for:

Organized by student – this may seem obvious, but I did once try to organize my classroom data collection by content subject (i.e.: all running records in one place) and chronologically (Quarter 1, 2…). By far, the best system that worked for getting – and staying – organized was for each student to have their own file folder.

Flexible – this is EVERYTHING! If you're a special educator reading this, I'm sure you already know that every student in the special education classroom is unique and the data collection we are taking also varies from student to student.

Sustainable – even if you have the BEST data organization system, it won't be helpful if it's not easy to sustain. This means data collection sheets can easily be added and then found again when you need to reference them. This also means that you can get a quick overview summary of progress on IEP goals “at a glance.”

What system meets all the criteria?

Student file folders are a GREAT option for keeping all data records together – before, during, and after data collection.

BEFORE Data Collection

Prepare student folders as much as possible before collecting data. I like to fill the folders with any assessments I already know we will need. For example, if I know I'll be conducting performance assessments on letter or number ID based on a child's IEP goals, I'll be sure to print and copy corresponding data collection pages and place them inside the folder.

Reading comprehension goals? Print out one-page passages and tuck them into the file folder so they are ready to go when you need them.

One last tip – add a few blank sheets for those last minute notes. There's nothing worse than actually writing all over the inside of the actual folder!

DURING Data Collection

This is the toughest part! Collecting data isn't usually difficult, but keeping it organized so it's usable can be where our systems break down. One thing that I found super useful is keeping notes in an easy-to-find area. This often meant sticky notes attached to the inside AND outside of students' folders.

Now I don't know about you, but there are times I've returned to my sticky notes and scratched my head wondering what exactly I was thinking about when I wrote the note.

If that's ever happened to you, here's a solution:

“Pre-populate” your data collection to get ahead of the game!

This is a set of printable pages that help organize your data collection systems both INSIDE and OUTSIDE student files:

Here's a detailed list of the different types of tools included:

And a closer look at the mix and match mini-tools:

AFTER Data Collection

This is probably the most exciting thing I discovered and something I hadn't experienced before:

Imagine grabbing one of these newly organized data folders and heading into your next I.E.P. meeting. How amazing would it feel to have data collection summarized right in front of you, plus a checklist of important details?

Say goodbye to an one-size-fits-all data system and say “so long” to all those sticky notes!

Just kidding – sticky notes are the best!

Are you as excited as I am? If so, be sure to check out the data folder organizers. They come in a variety of colors and sizes to fit your needs and can help make organizing data a breeze. If you're ready to spend less time organizing lots of paperwork (so much data!) and stop lugging around a full size data collection binder, these data folder organizers are for you!

How nice would it be to have student's work samples, individual student communication log, present levels of performance, and next step all in ONE place?

Simply grab your data folders and go!

I hope you love these data folder organization tools as much as I do!

Hi there.

I'm Jennifer!

I’m Jennifer and I was a special educator in the elementary school setting over the past decade. I entered the classroom every day dedicated to making learning inclusive AND engaging.

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