WHAT WORKS? Research into Practice A research-into-practice series produced by a partnership between The Literacy and Numeracy Secretariat and the Ontario Association of Deans of Education How can teachers use data to improve student achievement at the elementary level?
Here are six methods schools can put into practice:
Keep it simple. Use simple tools and techniques to collect data, such as clickers, response sticks, or exit tickets. They’ll provide a straightforward process for understanding learning outcomes.
Think small. Start with one class, and scale your efforts with the progress. For example, if you want to improve your questioning strategies, track the times you require students in one class to justify their responses. Once you find instructional techniques that work, slowly apply them to all your classes.
Analyze your efforts. Based on the data,reflect on whether the steps you’ve taken have had an impact. When you begin to see a difference in the students and their work, the extra effort will seem valuable.
Engage students. Involve students in setting goals and tracking progress to invest them in the process. This might be as simple as improving an opening routine or as complex as meeting large assessment goals. Likewise, encourage students to reflect upon their progress to help them determine what worked, what didn’t, and what should be done differently next time.
Make progress visible. Track progress daily using a graph or chart. This will help students see their progress and, ultimately, be empowered. The size of the goal doesn’t matter; students need to see what they’re working toward and what they’ve accomplished.
Be transparent with class-wide results. Follow pre-assessments tests, and communicate the results to students. You don’t have to single them out. Simply relay the outcomes, and explain how instruction will be adjusted based on the new information. For example, you could say, “Based on the data from this quiz, we need to revisit phases of the cell cycle, so you’ll see questions on this topic in your warm-ups for the rest of the week.”
5 ways to use data to improve your teaching By Liz Logan