Everyone has their own style of data. I'm a firm believer that you simply have to find the right way for you. I am so happy that Jenn started this so that you can get some ideas!!
First, I start a binder for every semester. Here's one from this spring. I have to have cute covers. Plus, I think it helps me with motivation.
Like most people, I have a tab for each student. It helps me keep everything straight.
As far as forms go, I have been using one I found awhile ago from Let's Talk Speech-Language Pathology. Here's the form in action:
I put the date, the activity we're working on in the columns on the left. In the data section, you'll see a bunch of numbers. You're probably thinking "What the heck do those mean??" I'm glad you asked! I was taught NOT to use the + and - system. You're probably thinking WHAT? WHY? I know. That's what I said that first day, too. Let me show you what the numbers mean and maybe it'll start to make sense.
1= No response.
2= Response, but error
3=Correct with clinician cue
4=Correct without cue
The difference between 4 and 5 is this: 4 is correct but it is not as fully detailed as it could be. 5 is fully detailed. For example, a 4 would be, "This is a toothbrush." A 5 would be, "This is a toothbrush, and you can use it to clean your teeth." Make sense?
NOTE: You can modify this to 0 through 4 if you wanted.
The reason I was taught to use this system is that it gives you way more information about a child's abilities than plus/minus can ever give you. This system shows when they need a cue, that they're almost there but not quite, or that they have it. I, of course, write what type of cue they needed in addition to these numbers.
I know that's so totally different than what most people do. What do you think? By the way- it's ok if you don't like it. It's just one way I was taught at school this year and want to know your thoughts!