How to Manage Student Goal Setting and Data Tracking in Your Classroom

With academic expectations on the rise, teachers are required to monitor, assess, and prove student progress. Classroom data tracking is essential in today’s classroom, especially since teachers must collect accurate student data to prove progress to parents, administrators, and their states. Having specific details at your fingertips will aid in setting student goals, keeping families informed, updating administrators, and displaying progress at student conferences.

Here are some helpful tips for how to set up and maintain data collection in the classroom using Carson-Dellosa’s reproducible Classroom Data Tracking resource books:

Why Should I Use Data Tracking?

Teachers are busy, but in today’s data-driven classroom, data tracking is crucial. Fortunately, classroom data tracking can be an invaluable tool in many ways:

  • Data tracking creates a growth mindset. It shifts the focus from a pass/fail mentality to one of showing growth over time.
  • It allows you to see gaps in concepts that need reteaching so that you can easily create focused remediation groups.
  • It allows for more targeted lesson planning for the upcoming weeks.
  • Pre-assessments can help you determine how much time to spend on each skill.
  • Post-assessments can help you determine whether students need more time or what topics you should address next.
  • It provides you with daily information and allows you to give students feedback and guidance more regularly.
  • It involves students with tracking their own data so that they can easily see their own progress.
  • It gives students a sense of pride and ownership over their learning.
  • It helps create data portfolios that are useful tools for families, administrators, and student conferences.

Tracking Data in Your Classroom

As standards become more rigorous, data tracking is becoming a necessary part of an already full daily classroom routine. The pages in Carson-Dellosa’s Classroom Data Tracking resource books are intended as tools to help you manage your classroom data and create a customized system to make data tracking more manageable. These books are designed to allow you to choose the reproducibles that work specifically for you and your students.

These books also allow you to integrate assessments into your current routines by using informal observations and other formative assessments instead of interrupting the flow with traditional tests. If possible, try to involve students in tracking their own data by using reproducibles, graphs, and sample work to create and manage their own portfolios.

How to Use the Reproducible Classroom Data Tracking Series

Guide your plans for teaching, assessment, and remediation – Use the provided crosswalks to help you better understand what students should have learned from the previous year and what they will need to know for the next year.

Use a checklist to track which concepts you have taught and when – Write the standard code in the top left box and describe the concept in the large space. Use some or all of the boxes to the right to list the dates that you taught, tested, and retaught the concept.

Reproducible pages provide an all-in-one resource – Reproducibles may include whole-class recording sheets, conference sheets, open-ended assessment pages, or pages where students take charge of their own goals and learning. Use the explanation page before each set to better understand how to use each page.

Plan for and keep track of the standards and related assessments – Use the provided Standards Assessed chart to record all of the standards for a subject, the dates taught, and any other brief notes you choose to record (assessment types, overall class proficiency, etc.).

Getting Started with Classroom Data Tracking

You can start data tracking at any point in the school year. If you are new to data tracking, it may be helpful to start small with a single subject until you become more comfortable with the process. Use the following guidelines to help you start a data-tracking system in your classroom.

  1. Choose the best format for your classroom. You may choose to have a single binder to collect data or have individual student binders or folders.
  2. Add a cover page. Because the data-tracking binder will play a starring role in your school year, design an attractive cover that will make the binder identifiable and enjoyable to use. If students are also creating binders or folders, have them add cover pages as well.
  3. Organize the binder(s) into sections. Decide what subjects and topics you will be assessing and use tabs or dividers to clearly divide and label them.
  4. Choose a rating system. Although you may use different systems depending on what and how you will be assessing, use a single rating system for the majority of assessments to create consistency, cohesiveness, and clarity. Use the following guidelines to help set a clear tone for the year if using student binders as well.
  5. Compose guidelines or a mission statement. Guidelines or a short mission statement will let students know what is expected of them and make them accountable with their data tracking. If desired, have students keep copies at the beginning of their notebooks and have both students and family members sign them at the beginning of the school year.
  6. Have students set long-term and short-term goals. Long-term goals will give students targets to work toward. Short-term goals will give students attainable checkpoints along the way. It may also be helpful to give students standards checklists in student-friendly language and to have students keep written goals in their binders as reminders.

Managing Classroom Data Tracking

Managing the Teacher Binder
  • Choose a durable two- or three-inch binder to store all of the important information for the entire year.
  • Use the teacher binder as the one place to store the following important assessment-related tools and reproducibles:
    • A copy of the standards at the front of your binder for easy reference
    • Copies of the resources and assessment tools for your grade, such as pacing guides, word lists, fluency tests, and reading level charts
    • Master copies of assessments
  • Consider separating the binder into two sections — overall class proficiency and individual student data.
    • In the class proficiency section, keep information such as what standards you taught when, overall class scores, and student grouping information.
    • Use the individual student section to store running records, baseline tests, remediation forms, and anecdotal notes.
  • At the beginning of the school year, assign your students numbers and use a set of numbered tabs to organize individual student data in a single place. Add a copy of your student names and assigned numbers to the front of the individual data section.
Managing Student Binders
  • Consider copying yearlong tracking sheets on card stock instead of copy paper for durability.
  • Color code sections to make it easier for students to quickly find the correct pages. For example, copy all sight word pages on yellow paper.
  • Assemble binders for younger students. Include all of the tracking sheets for the year to avoid having to add pages later.
  • Provide students with several three-hole-punched page protectors for storing sample work, which is often not prepunched.
  • Devote a short, designated time each week to allow students to add sample work to and organize their binders.