July 17, 2015
Teacher Tips for Turning Data into Insights
D-A-T-A, data, data, data! You cannot turn a corner these days without the word data being part of the conversation among teachers. With so many forms of data available, it is hard to determine which types are most useful for finding insights wile using data in the classroom. Moreover, looking at a single type of data is not going to give you a complete picture of a student—combining data from various sources can. In this post, I explain the types data teachers should consider and how the role of each stakeholder affects the use and success of data-driven math instruction in the classroom.
Taking the Data Dive
There are many forms of data available, and choosing data that best fits your school’s vision can be challenging. However, if chosen correctly, data can help address areas of weakness and strengths to better provide a clearer picture of how to drive instruction to help students’ needs at an individual level. Having timely access to data is critical for incorporating learning solutions into the classroom routine. Below are a few options that allow teachers to create more meaningful lessons for students.
School Support Systems
Establishing a data-driven culture for student learning begins with strong administrative support. Since each school has a unique set of strengths and weaknesses, it is important for the school’s administration to create a supportive environment where educator input helps determine the school’s greatest needs.
The Teacher’s Role
Being part of a team, such as a professional learning community (PLC), provides a support system among teachers when analyzing data. A successful PLC is one where teachers set expectations, create an environment where all teachers can have a voice, analyze common data, and share best practices. Having the same assessments across disciplines allows teachers to pinpoint weakness against standards, but will also allow for discussions and coaching.
The weekly assessments should be 5–10 questions per assessment and can be administered in a variety of ways to fit varied teaching styles:
The Student’s Role
Involving students in the data process takes buy-in on the part of the student, and this can happen in several ways:
Analyzing data to drive instruction sets up classrooms where students can be successful, as instruction is geared toward student needs, not the other way around. Schools need support and vision, and this can come from peers, data coaches, data teams, and/or the administration. Regardless of an individual educator’s comfort level with data, everyone’s participation makes for a stronger school, as shown by the data. Want more on data in the classroom? Catch up on Dr. Gregory Firn’s latest blog series that takes a deeper dive into creating a data-driven culture.