Data Driven Instruction

Tuesday, August 9, 2022

 The importance of data driven instruction has been a major topic among administrators, teachers, and professors; however, it can be difficult to administer in practice. Data based instruction is valuable for all students regardless of what level, as each student comes in with different strengths and weaknesses. So what is it and how can we accomplish it?

Getting the Data

Testing is one thing students and teachers hate, but is an excellent way to gather data on what skills students have mastered and which ones they struggle with. Even gifted students, find some tasks difficult. If possible access prior test scores; however, should a student not have a prior test score administer a diagnostic exam that covers a variety of standards. This should help in gathering the data needed about the students to see where their skills are.

Communicating with Students and Parents / Setting Realistic Goals

Data should not only stay with the teacher as students have a right to know how well they did on the diagnostic. Typically, I like to give the class an independent assignment while I call up students one by one to go over the data with them. Don't post individual test scores as for some students it can be embarassing or lead to problems with their classmates. Information regarding individual scores are not public information for the whole world to see. You may discuss individual information with the student or parent or guardian. You may also show average for the entire class score , so long as you are not pointing out an individual student. 

You may point out what the grade level concordant is , but when setting goals make them realistic for that student. Each child is different and even if a child doesn't reach the grade level concordant it's best to celebrate any improvement that child makes throughout the year. You never know, the child may surprise you. In addition, you want to be careful when a child is above level as regression can happen. If a child is above level give them challenging work to meet them at that level. This is where differenciated instruction kicks in to try to meet the needs of all the students. 

Lesson Planning

Lesson plans should be created based on the test scores and primarily to address student weaknesses. When lesson planning you may use centers, games, and assessments to foster a productive learning environment for students. The lessons need to be engaging and interactive, so that students don't get too reluctant or bored. Think about it this way... When you are building a house it's important to have a solid foundation before building any walls. Learning new skills is the same way. When a student is weak in a standard they often have a weak foundation, so fix the foundation first and gradually move on to building the rest of the house. Assessment should be varied and constant so that the teacher can self-evaluate their own lesson and see what needs to be retaught and reinforced. 

Repeat and Reward 

These steps will need to be repeated at least twice during the school year. Even if it's tiring, it can be rewarding to watch students improve throughout the school year. I like to celebrate improvement and often keep Starbursts around for such an occasion. Even big kids like candy, so it can be helpful to buy some in bulk. I recommend Starbursts, Air Heads, and Jolly Ranchers because it's easy to buy them in bulk. Be careful with chocolate as it may melt. I would also reccommend learning if any of your students have allergies or religious perferences (like if they only eat Kosher foods). Not sure what type of treat they would like? Ask them. They will gladly tell you. 

Need More Help? Get Our Free Editable Data Tracking Sheet in Google Drive. 

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