Do you do that?
What system do you use?
What data, formal and informal, do you collect?
How does the data help you to personalize your programs and utilize resources well?
While there's great talk online about student-driven versus data-driven, I like the way good data collection and analysis can help me to see a child with greater depth and clarity. Certainly no child is singularly a set of data points, but it's true that data analysis can help us to look at our programs, staffing, students, and services in different ways.
The key is to keep the analysis holistic with both formal and informal metrics--a child is much more than a test score, but test scores can help us to see a group in ways that matter too.
Families also respond to data--it's a quick way to assess their child's overall skills in an area, and as long as that data is coupled with informal and more holistic observation, I believe it's positive.
For example with upcoming parent conferences, I'd like to report the following (though some of these metrics won't be available at that time this year):
- State scores (unfortunately won't be available)
- System-wide assessments (also may not be available, but I'd like to lobby for availability)
- Grade-level assessments
- Anecdotal evidence related to student interest, happiness, need
- Portfolio examples of student ideas, interests, learning, and school activity
Positive parent/guardian conferences lead to positive parent/guardian-teacher-student conversation, goal setting, and relationships. Good data and a holistic look at a child's learning program helps family members, students, and teachers work together to direct the teaching/learning program.
I think we're ready to update our process in this matter with the following efforts:
- more organized data collection, organization, analysis, and reporting
- more timely data collection, organization, analysis, and reporting
- replacing the report card with regular data collection and reporting processes--processes that mirror the natural processes of teaching and learning
- more facile, systematic, and deep use of data, informal and formal, to make decisions related to program development and practice.
In turn, I hope this movement will help us to help students to manage and direct their own learning efforts. For example this week, I'm using data from recent fact tests to differentiate home study so that students are studying at the level they are currently at--a level that will hopefully encourage them to take ownership of this learning and practice.