Hang with me here, I know the last thing teachers want to hear is more rambling about “data driven decision making.” However, the reason we hear that so much is because data really is important. If you are a teacher who is about to loose their mind thinking about collecting data, I want to challenge you to determine the reason. The most common reasons teacher hate collecting data are: their leadership is not explicit enough about how and what to collect, you are not sure how to use the data you collect, you don’t know how to find time to create a data collection system, or you have been vaguely drilled on data so often you are completely sick of hearing about it. And all these reasons are legitimate, but they all have a common fix. The fix is training in those areas.
Now if you are a teacher who does not have a way to collect data or time to find some materials to help you, do not bother reading this today. This posts are for something you can change or add that is simple. And if you don’t have system, this will not be a simple fix for you. I will create a post on classroom data collection soon. If you do have some systems, and know how to use the data, this post is applicable to you. Please go on.
What It Does For You
- Saves you time if you need data for progress monitoring, meeting with your team, or referring a student to special education.
- Creates an easy way to find data for students.
- Allows you the ability to check your teaching.
- Gives you a way to show how your students are progressing.
How To Do It
- First, make sure you are taking data on areas that you will need to report on. Those areas include reading comprehension, fluency, math facts, math word problems, writing, or specific problem areas for students (attention and focus, on task behavior, writing fluency).
- Check if any of these areas are already being tested with a program or test your school requires them to take.
- Next, have all of your weekly testing materials in the same place.
- Create a routine in your week where you can record all of the data onto a useable spreadsheet or list. This allows you to access the data points quickly.
- Consider graphing the data for students who are struggling.
- Refer to your data to make decisions on: If student needs a specific intervention, what materials they need to working with, progress monitoring, tracking response to interventions, and showing your own student progress.
Wrapping It Up
Data can be a critical tool for teachers when it is used appropriately and proportionately. Sometimes teachers are asked to collect too much data or do not have the tools to do so. This makes data a time sucking and wasting task. But you can do it efficiently. When it becomes streamlined it can help you make important decisions in the classroom.