April 07, 2014

Using Rubrics to Track Speech Therapy Data

rubrics are an efficient way to track student data 

Raise your hand if you have a student or two on your caseload who has more than one speech goal. Raise your other hand if you have students who have really extensive goals which require you to track many different elements. I'm talking multiple speech sound errors, including various story grammar elements in a story retell task, or using language functionally in different ways (i.e. asking questions, answering questions, and using greetings).

We all have these sorts of goals we address every week. Tracking data on so many different aspects of communication can get messy. None of us have the time to constantly round up several data sheets or log notes for every student every time we update their progress. How can SLPs quickly and efficiently track student data in a way that measures their true progress and still makes sense?

Rubrics. Rubrics are the answer! *cue angelic music* Rubrics are an efficient way to track and score goals which contain many components, and also measure student progress over time. They are also an excellent way to give students more credit for the progress they are making, or measuring the amount of prompts/cues that are required for success.

So what kind of communication goals benefit from using rubrics? Well let's see, I have used rubrics at some point for each of the following goals: MLU, AAC, story retell, articulation, wh-questions, functional communication, vocabulary, semantics, phonological processes, and fluency. So, really, rubrics are appropriate to use with any speech goal and can help you determine the course of instructions (i.e. increasing complexity of speech targets or fading prompts).

Create Rubrics in 3 Easy Steps:

1)   Determine the elements of your goal that need to be measured (i.e. steps to mastering an articulation goal). This could be the same as your short-term objectives, or might be in-between steps for reaching the ultimate goal.

2)   Set performance levels and assign points to each level. I like to set 3-5 criterion levels (generally, they are: not yet demonstrating, approximate, and proficient).

3)   Include descriptions/examples in your rubric cells of what would qualify for that score rating.

There are three things I like to keep in mind when I am creating my speech therapy rubrics:

1)   Include a score for each element of your rubric.

2)   Keep it simple – Just say no to 150-point rubrics! Your criterion must be clear and easy for others to interpret. If your student moves away and a new SLP inherits his goal/rubric, you want them to be able to continue using it with the same reliability.

3)   Allow yourself to score several weeks’ worth of data on one piece of paper. I don’t like rubrics that take up a whole page for each data point. That bulks up my student folders too much when I have to print off a new sheet every other week. Plus then I still have multiple sheets to sort through when it comes to writing progress reports. Not to mention the printing/environmental costs.

If you'd like to start using rubrics in your own speech therapy room, I've already done the work for you: here are 21 rubrics all bundled together. The packet includes instructions and scoring examples, as well as blank rubrics ready to print and use. So go ahead, try rubrics out for yourself! I bet you won't go back :)

Abby typed the word rubric 18 times in this post.

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