Pediatric Therapeutic Services

How to Write Measurable Goals

Tips on Data Collection From PTS’ School-Based Academy

Data collection is an essential component of monitoring student progress during therapeutic interventions. To efficiently use this data, school-based therapists must plan ahead and narrow the focus of their data collection. While making a list of therapy goals and objectives for each student on the caseload can seem overwhelming at first, applying the tips and tricks below will create an organized, successful process.

Types of Therapy Intervention Data Collection

Below are the types of data collection you should keep in mind when making observations and determining what specifically needs to be gathered and evaluated.

  • Frequency data: reflects either an increase or decrease in the number of times a student demonstrates a behavior.
  • Accuracy data: reflects the percentage of correct responses from the pool of opportunities. Here, it is important to specify the conditions of when this data is collected and for how long the child needs to be consistent with the skill to determine it has been achieved.
  • Latency data: reflects the time between a direction to perform and the student’s initiation of that behavior.
  • Rate data: reflects the quality of a skill and the rate at which the student is able to complete a task effectively.
  • Duration data: reflects either an increase or decrease in the amount of time the student is engaged in an activity. Duration data works best for attentional goals, efficiency, and endurance; in addition, this data makes “sensory” goals functional.
  • Task analysis data: reflects the breakdown of steps in a given task and which of those steps the student is able to complete correctly. Task analysis data collection takes significant time and requires substantial documentation.

Tips on Writing and Organizing Therapy Goals and Objectives

Now that you know the different types of therapy data collection, how can you get started writing measurable annual goals? Take a look at our top PTS school-based therapists’ tips.

Your annual therapy intervention goals must:

  • Describe what can be accomplished in a 12-month period.
  • Relate to deficit skills listed in IEP.
  • Contain behavior, condition, criteria, and baseline data.
  • State the method of evaluation as well as the estimated amount of time for data collection.

Keep in mind: goals relating to a student’s individual curriculum should be distinguishable from the general education curriculum. These goals should address the chief aim of obtaining certain skills (such as listening, communication, motor skills, organization, etc.) to participate in the general education curriculum rather than meet the standards of students without disabilities. Each students’ therapy goals are unique and should be treated as such.

You can also locate your profession’s national website for more resources fit for your position. For example, this rubric from the American Speech Language Hearing Association may aid the data collection of speech-language pathologists. Furthermore, PTS can provide the resources and support you need to succeed.  

PTS School-Based Academy for New Therapists

If you are new to the field of school-based therapy, PTS can familiarize you with the tools and strategies needed to hone your skills in a school-based practice. For new PTS therapists, we offer the School-Based Academy, a program that covers topics such as:

  • Effective caseload management
  • Progress monitoring through data collection
  • IEP frameworks and goals
  • Relationship building with other school-based professionals
  • And more

For assistance setting your therapy goals and objectives, contact one of our Clinical Directors today!

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