by Dana Bockman, DCSD Facilitator of Data and Assessment
Today, it seems like we are inundated with data. Every year adds more and more and more to our plates (and spreadsheets). So, what do we do with all this data?
All data is relevant and useful in some way, but educators should be selective in which data they chose for various purposes. Teachers most often are focused on individual students' needs and how they can help their students achieve in the classroom. This goal narrows the focus of data analysis.
Keep in mind that the term "data" does not merely refer to a number (in other words, a test score). Data is any and all evidence of student progress and achievement. And when making day-to-day instructional decisions, standardized tests are often not the best source of data.
The Data Individual Teachers Rely On
1. Daily Work- Though I would debate the usefulness of grading daily work to determine a student’s final grade (I will save that for another post), it does give teachers a glimpse of how students are progressing toward mastering a concept or skill. It helps a teacher to know the areas individual students may need assistance in to master skills and meet the learning targets.
3. Observations- I may spend a great deal of time looking at spreadsheets full of test scores, but you will never convince me that teacher observation is not important data. Teachers' observations make them more in tuned to the needs of their students.
4. Formative Assessment (quick checks, exit slips, thumbs up, whiteboard answers, and so on)- Similar to daily work, formative assessment shows what students have a handle on and where they continue to need assistance, clarity, and practice. It guides teachers in making informed instructional decisions to help students find success and have them working at their appropriate ability level.
When it comes to data, maybe Einstein put it best. “Not everything that can be counted counts, and not everything that counts can be counted.” So, that leaves the question, which data is the most useful for your world?
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