Data Notebooks for Students | An Overview

Using Data Notebooks.

Data Notebooks are a way for students to keep track of their own progress. They are small folders or binders in which students can keep examples of their work in different areas throughout the school year. They help students become more responsible for their own learning, and allows them to see the growth they have made.

Data Notebooks


They differ from portfolios as they are not simply a collection of student work. The pieces that go into the data notebook are carefully chosen and provide information about students’ starting points, and mark their growth from there.

Things that can go into a data notebook are:

  • Students' personal goals
  • Graphs of things like high frequency words and test level
  • Pre and Post tests and scores
  • Behavior charts
  • Reading calendars
  • Mission statements
  • Action plans

Teachers can choose the categories for the data notebooks, for example:

  1.   End of Year Goals
  2.   Weekly Goals
  3.   Term and Semester Goals
  4.    Attendance and Behavior
  5.    Reading
  6.    Math
  7.    Writing
  8.    Music
  9.    Physical Education

Teachers can include any items that are relevant to their classrooms and their students. The notebooks are in a place where students can easily access them when they want to add pieces, or examine what is inside their own data notebooks.

Recording in Data Notebooks

Teachers have the option to use a physical binder for each student. Templates and printables can be developed to enable students to record their data.

Alternatively teachers can use an app such as SAS Data Notebook to enable students to record their data digitally.

Using student data notebooks will empower your students, provide feedback and help students manage their own learning as they are purpose driven and student owned.

No matter what option you choose these can be great tools for sharing with parents, and are wonderful additions to student led conferences.



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Irene Reardon

Irene holds a Bachelor of Science (Applied Psychology), and Certificate in TESOL and a Certificate in the Teaching of Children with Dyslexia. Fifteen years experience in developing education programs and resources for Early Childhood and Primary Educators.

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