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Google Forms™ for Data Collection

In any special education setting, efficient data collection is paramount. As a school based BCBA, I understand the challenges of managing data for all students on your caseload. I’m excited to share insight into utilizing one of my favorite tools- Google Forms™for data collection in special education settings. In this blog post, we’ll explore the features, customization options, and benefits of Google Forms, that can help ABA therapists, special educators, and fellow BCBAs enhance their data collection practices.

Understanding Google Forms™ for Data Collection

Google Forms™ serves as a versatile tool for collecting both skill and behavior data in special education settings.

  1. For skill data, educators can create custom forms to track progress on individualized education goals, including academic achievements, communication milestones, and daily living skills.

  2. For behavior data, forms can be designed to record frequency, duration, or antecedents and consequences of challenging behaviors, facilitating comprehensive behavior management strategies.

Features of Google Forms™ for Data Collection

Google Forms™ for data collection tools offer a variety of question types, including short answer, multiple choice, and scale ratings, each of which can be effectively utilized for collecting skill and behavior data in special education settings.

  1. Short Answer: These types of questions allow educators to gather open-ended responses, providing flexibility for capturing detailed information. I use this option often for forms that are gathering information on IEP goal programs (e.g., student’s daily percentage correct score for identifying letters = 85%).

  2. Multiple Choice: Multiple choice questions streamline data collection by offering predefined response options, making it easier for educators to categorize and analyze data efficiently. For example, if recording partial interval data for a sample ten minute interval period, you can include multiple choice answers of 1-10 so that users can easily select from the options to indicate how many intervals in which behaviors occurred.

  3. Linear Scale: Scale rating questions allow educators to quantify responses along a predetermined scale, providing a standardized method for assessing things such as behavior intensity (e.g., 1 = mild, 2 = moderate, 3 = severe). To ensure staff consistency when using scales, it’s essential to provide clear guidelines and examples for interpreting and using the scale effectively. Regular training sessions and ongoing supervision can also help reinforce the importance of consistency in rating behaviors across staff members. By promoting uniformity in rating practices, educators can enhance the reliability and validity of the behavior data collected through Google Forms™, leading to more informed decision-making and targeted interventions.

  4. Checkboxes: For behavior data, checkbox responses enable educators to record contextual details, antecedents, and consequences associated with observed behaviors, facilitating functional behavior assessments and behavior plan creation. The benefit to using checkboxes, rather than multiple choice, in this scenario, is that you can select more than one answer (e.g., you are recording antecedents for a behavior that occurred after multiple events such as restricted access to a preferred activity as well as escape from demands).

Benefits of Google Forms™ for Data Collection

A standout features of Google Forms™ for data collection is its seamless data sharing capability. Educators can easily share forms with team members, parents, or other stakeholders via email, Google Classroom, or shared links. This streamlined sharing process fosters collaboration among multidisciplinary teams, promotes data-driven insights and informed decision-making.

  1. Automatic Data Analysis: Google Forms™ for data collection seamlessly integrates with Google Sheets™, automatically linking form responses to a spreadsheet for effortless data management and analysis. Once you open the linked spreadsheet, you can further customize your data to include graphs, trend lines, and other features for additional insight.

  2. Streamlined Data Sharing: I like to share Google Forms™ for data collection purposes with instructional assistants (paraprofessionals), allowing them to collect data in real-time data during classroom activities and interventions. Simultaneously, I will share the linked Google Sheets™ spreadsheet with parents and other stakeholders, providing transparent access to data insights and progress monitoring discussions. By sharing the spreadsheet with “view only” access, this ensures that they cannot accidentally alter or delete the data entered.

Customization of Google Forms™ for Data Collection

Google Forms™ for data collection allows for various customization options so that you can individualize your forms per learner.

  1. Theme and Color: Google Forms™ for data collection offers a variety of pre-designed themes and color schemes to customize the appearance of the form, allowing users to match it with personal preferences and individualize for each student. You can select from a range of color palettes and apply them to the form background, text, buttons, and other elements to create a cohesive and visually appealing design.

  2. Header Image: To add a personal touch to the form, you can upload a custom header image at the top of the form, such as a logo, photograph, or graphic, to reflect the specific student and purpose of the data form. These custom images also allows users to easily recognize the forms at a glance if they are their browsing Google™ Drive.

How to Implement Google Forms™ for Data Collection

Here’s a step-by-step guide in for creating a Google Form™ and setting it up to track frequency of daily behavior data (in this example, staff are using clicker counters to track frequency of behaviors per day and then transferring it into the forms upon the end of the school day). By utilizing Google Forms™, educators can streamline the data collection process, ensuring accuracy and efficiency in tracking behaviors (or skills) over time.

Creating the form:

  • Go to Google Forms™ (forms.google.com) and sign in to your Google™ account if prompted.
  • Click on the “+” sign or “Blank” to create a new form.
  • Enter a title for your form, such as “Daily Behavior Data Collection.”
  • Optionally, add a description to provide context or instructions for respondents (Frequency of Aggressions, Disruptions, & Elopement for Ross Green).
  • Click on the first question field and select “Short answer” from the dropdown menu.

Setting up the form fields:

Before proceeding to set up the form fields, it’s important to identify the specific target behaviors you have identified for data tracking purposes.

  1. Date: Enter “Date” as the question title and choose “Date” as the question type. (This field will allow staff members to input the date of the behavior data entry).

  2. Staff Member: Enter “Staff Member” as the question title and choose “Short answer” as the question type. (This field will allow staff members to input their name as the person who entered data on that date).

  3. Behaviors: Enter as many behaviors as you are tracking by name (e.g., “Aggressions,” “Disruptions,” and “Elopement”) as question titles. Choose “Short answer” as the question type to allow staff to input the frequency data for each behavior.

  4. Additional Notes: Enter “Additional Notes” as the question title, and choose “Short answer” as the question type. This allows staff members to input any additional notes or comments related to the behavior data that day (e.g., “Ross came in late” or “Assembly today”).

Sharing the Form:

Once the form setup is complete, sharing it with staff members for data entry is essential for effective data collection.

  1. Click on the “Send” button in the top-right corner. Copy the form link to share with staff members for data entry. These users will be able to access this same email to complete and submit the form on a daily basis (you will not have to email it more than once!).
  2. Under the “Responses” header, click on “Link to Sheets” to view the data in the spreadsheet form. After customizing with graphs or any other additional features, click “Share” in the top-right corner and enter any parents, guardians, or other team members who you wish to have viewing access. Be sure to select “Viewer” before you hit send so that they only have access to view (and not edit) the data!

Conclusion

By leveraging Google Forms™ for data collection, educators can design comprehensive data collection tools tailored to their specific needs, whether tracking skill acquisition or monitoring behavior progress. The versatility and ease of use of Google Forms™ empower educators to gather meaningful data efficiently, ultimately enhancing the effectiveness of interventions and improving outcomes for special education students. I absolutely love to help fellow special educators create digital forms for data tracking, so please email me at BeltransBehaviorBasics@Gmail.com for any questions or if you need help getting started!

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