DATA. DATA. DATA. Seems like all we talk about at staff meetings is data. Formative data. Summative data. Standardized data. Behavioral data. The data revolution has hit schools hard and teachers are feeling inundated with numbers. My question? What do students know of their data? Do they have opportunities to talk with their teachers about their scores? Do they have opportunities to set goals? Do they have opportunities to explore what those scores really mean? Below are three tips I share with teachers who are looking to explore data with their students.
- Use an approachable voice. Students understand how important standardized tests are and, therefore, might be nervous talking data with their teacher. To calm students’ nerves, make sure to speak in an approachable voice. By speaking slowly and using invitational language, we subconsciously signal the students’ brains that they are not being threatened, which allows them to actively reflect on the data.
- Keep the conversation positive and focused on the data. When discussing test data, it can be easy to see the gaps or the negatives. Yet, students need to know that we (teachers) know them better than the test does. We see the potential represented by the data and that it is supported by the effort we see each day.
- Remember that assessment data is only part of the story. Students are dynamic, ever changing, and unpredictable. The information they provide on one day is good to consider when making instructional plans or reflecting. However, it should not constitute the entire picture of the students’ abilities, academic or otherwise. Skills and talents such as determination, humor, risk-taking, and managing impulsivity cannot be measured by a multiple-choice test. Remember to focus on ALL the talents your students have. Encourage them to use all those skills and that, in turn, will help them to continue to grow personally as learners.
Click here to read about how you can use data wall effectively.