How to Collect Data for Independent Work Systems
how to collect data for independent work systems

Collecting accurate data is an important step in implementing independent work systems.   When you first start with structured work systems, I would recommend that you start taking the data yourself and then delegate that job to your paraprofessionals.  

In the beginning, you will want to do this together so that you are both learning together.  

But, once you have been implementing these systems in your classroom for several weeks, you will want to get that job off your plate.   Paraprofessionals are there to assist you, so make sure that you trust them and let them take data for you.

As long as you are taking out the time to properly train your staff to take data, it should all work out. 

When you use the data to show your paraprofessionals how the students are improving over time, they will take better data and have more of a buy-in!

paraprofessionals taking data for independent work systems
Paraprofessional taking data on independent work systems

The beauty of using these systems is that you can take data whenever you want!

Whenever it suits your schedule and the needs of your students is when you should be taking data.

If everything is going as planned, your paraprofessionals should and can be taking data while the students are working in their independent work systems or while they're using their incentive time at the end of their schedule, or even the next day before resetting the systems. 

There are just so many benefits to using independent work systems.  

Paraprofessional Taking Data on Independent Work Systems

So many teachers use so many different ways to take data for independent work systems!

  • paper and pencil data
  • a datasheet
  • a digital form
  • a sticky note,
  • an anecdotal sheet

It does not matter how you collect your data as long as you're taking accurate and efficient data. You do not need to collect data every day and you don't even need to collect data during the whole session.

Data collection sheet for independent work systems
Data sheets for independent work systems

This is an example of a data collection sheet that we use in my work systems in the classroom.  It is super basic and to the point, but it lets me know, as the teacher, what skill the student was working on, the level of prompting that they needed, and the percentage that they are getting correct at a quick glance.

Now, if you have a student who is constantly getting many errors on a certain task, just take that task away and reteach it in a different setting.   You don't have to use fancy sheets like this.  Your data collection sheet should be easy for you and your staff to use and refer to. 

If you are looking for these data sheets specifically, you can CLICK THIS LINK, for my Independent Work Systems Starter Kit that has all the schedule pieces and these data collection sheets included. 

student doing independent work systems
Picture of my 6 year old son with Down Syndrome completing independent work systems

It is okay for your paraprofessional to be jumping between a few different students, simultaneously taking data on multiple students. 

They may not be taking data on the entire session, but that is okay.  You want to leave the student alone in this system as much as you can.  

Make sure that your paraprofessional is taking some anecdotal notes on the student's behavior as well.  For example, if Johnny's cat died that morning, he may not be working to his full potential that day. 

When you finally have time in the day to sit down and review the data, you want to take the data that you have and use that to drive what your future independent work systems will look like

F example, if you notice that Johnny still needs full physical prompting for weeks into independent work systems, I would take the time out to watch a session to see where we're going wrong…..maybe the student needs to be re-taught how to use a system.  Maybe the paraprofessionals need reminders on how to fade support better.

So to recap, taking data should be the easy part. You shouldn't feel stressed or overwhelmed with taking data during independent work systems. Even if you are not taking data, students are still fostering independence and that's ok!

Take data in your own time.

Make sure to grab your independent work systems Starter Pack by clicking below! 

If you're ready to learn all of the beginnings of starting Independent Works Systems in your classroom, check out my free, on-demand training!! 

Watch here!

That's all for now! Let me know in the comments if you are using independent work systems in the classroom and how are you taking data?


If you want to pin this post for later, click here!

I am a High School, self-contained Autism teacher from Central New York, who is passionate about individualizing student learning. I am a mommy of three, lover of all things Disney, married to my best friend and addicted to chocolate!! I hope that you find great ideas and inspiration here, so welcome!!

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