Telling Time Data System {Guest Post}

Categories: Curriculum Ideas

Guest post from Kristine Noonan from Autism the Teen Years about her system for taking data on telling time skills:

As a high school teacher for students with Autism, I’m always looking for ways to advance my students’ functional skills. And as a behavior analyst I JUST CAN’T STOP TAKING DATA! But on a serious note, we all know that the only way to make systematic, individualized decisions regarding instruction is to collect some solid baseline data, then establish an ongoing data collection system for tracking progress. You could set up a phenomenal skill acquisition program, but if you are not clear on your students’ current skill levels are or you do not have the objective data to show you when the student is or is not succeeding, it is unlikely to be an effective and efficient instructional strategy.

This year I have had the pleasure (and definite challenge) of beginning a BRAND NEW Autism Spectrum Disorders program in a public high school. I have spent many months developing a functional curriculum and detailed assessments to identify each student’s skills and needs and am pleased to share my Tells Time Assessment with you. This assessment looks at identification of time on both digital and analog clocks by the hour, 1/2 hour and 1/4 hour as well as by 5 minute and 1 minute intervals.

Here’s a sample from my assessment:

This portion of the assessment determines whether the student can both receptively identify (select the correct answer from an array of options through the following responses: touch, point, pick up, etc.) and expressively identify (state the answer aloud or using the student’s communication modality such as PECS, sign language, augmentative communication device, etc.) time by 5 minute intervals. What we all know too well from working with students on the autism spectrum is that with generalization as such a struggle for these learners. So although your student may be able to count aloud by 5’s, add 5 to various other numbers, and possibly even count multiple 5 dollar bills, they may not be able to use the same core skill to tell time by 5 minute intervals. (Yes. You caught me. That was another gentle push for collecting more data!!) The data summary chart below helps you to review error patterns and highlight strengths and weaknesses. It also helps you generate some great data to share with parents or incorporate into your IEP (Present Levels document)!

Though I have done some serious inventing this year, I have been lucky to come across some fabulous resources such as Sasha’s new product Time Mega Pack which saved me TONS of time in developing materials for assessment and teaching of many time telling skills! Who would want to reinvent such a fabulous wheel? Sasha has so many time matching, identification, and comprehension worksheets which can not only be used for assessment, but also for instruction once you determine the starting place (baseline) for each student. Check out this product here!


This sample worksheet is great not only for instruction (comprehension) but also for assessment. Four different skills from my assessment can be conducted with this one worksheet (though you should mix it up and not use the same times or same worksheet for the whole assessment of course, and Sasha made this very easy by coming up with 14 worksheets for telling time by 5 minute intervals)!

1. Cover up the analog clocks and have the student receptively identify (touch/find/show) time on a digital display

2. Cover up the analog clocks and have the student expressively identify (state the time shown) time on a digital display

3. Cover up the digital clocks and have the student receptively identify (touch/find/show me) time on an analog clock

4. Cover up the digital clocks and have the student expressively identify (state the time shown) time on an analog clock.

My suggestion in setting up assessments and instruction? Use everything and anything you can! Use worksheets, use real clocks, use watches, use an iPad clock, and for each of those items, use as many different ones as you can get your hands on! What I mentioned earlier about generalization is so true for our students, since they may not apply skills they have acquired to novel settings, materials, or instructors we have to teach with enough of a variety so that they will be able to tell time in any situation they are in.

Thanks for taking the time to read this post, I hope you will check out this product in my Teachers Pay Teachers store ( and check out my blog (!


Happy data collecting everyone 🙂

~Kristine Noonan from Autism the Teen Years


Submit a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *