Data meetings are always fun and exciting. Teachers love when that lil’data appointment pops up in their email box. It’s a hard conversation to have because amazing teachers are already well aware of their students strengths and weaknesses. It’s still a reality in our classes. A necessary evil, if you will. My principal had a great analogy. We want to apply the data effectively because if you go to the doctor when your stomach hurts, you don’t want him giving you headache medicine.
While it may seem like “busy work”, ultimately, it benefits you most of all.
If you’re already aware of the in’s and out’s of student performance, how can looking at data help you? Think of it this way, you may have a general awareness that you need to lose weight. But that favorite dress/suit? when it’s tight you know its time to trim the carbs. Looking at specific data can heighten your awareness of certain topics/concepts.
What if the results are overwhelming? Break it down, bit by bit. Take one question a week. Focus on the vocabulary within the question. Anyone can eat the elephant, just one bite at a time. Need help with question stems? Try this site.
How do I spiral this into my already action packed plans based on existing curriculum? Make cards that you can use during bathroom breaks or at lunch. Have your students answer and talk it through with a student partner. Use it as a bell ringer that first 10 minutes of class while students are filing in and getting situated. Cut a couple of assignments a week down by half. Use that time to focus on lower scored skills.
How can I teach it differently, when I’ve already taught it the best I could? Within your textbooks, there are scaffolding lessons available. Think of iStation, Study Island, Think Through Math, Ten Marks…there are a variety of sites that offer teacher lesson support. If you’re on twitter, find educators who teach similar subjects and ask to share. Check Pinterest. Check for Facebook groups. Look at Teacher Pay Teachers for ideas…get creative!
Stay FOCUSED. Don’t let yourself get lost on the tangents of “poor questions”, “bad data”, “these students”, and “overall passing percentages”. Even if 88% of your students passed, what if it was just 1 TEK or strand that could bump the rest of your kids up?
One teacher mentioned that she has her students go back over their most recent assessments and decide which areas/TEKS they struggled with the most. Students are completing different assignments, prescriptive tasks, based on where they were struggling. When you can transfer the ownership to the students, how much more powerful is that?
Be intentional with your material…there’s just not enough time in your day to miss a minute. Especially when we’re doing so many great things. I’m a big believer in a whole child focus, but there’s a time and place for data as well!