The word data tends to get two reactions from teachers. 1. Really? MORE DATA?!!? or 2. Yippee!
I'm a little embarrassed to admit that my reaction is more like the second one.
I love data.
There. I admitted it.
Now, I will say that sometimes, I have reaction number one. I think the key is to be looking at the right data.
The reason I love data is that it tells me the answer to many of my burning questions. Most importantly: Are my students learning?
Nothing makes me happier than seeing a student that was struggling be successful. THAT is what I love about teaching. THAT is what I love about being an intervention teacher.
I also love sharing student's success with their teachers and families.
Today, I have the pleasure of having a guest post at Tales from Outside the Classroom. My guest post about Success Criteria relates to this post about data. Please check it out by clicking on the picture below.
Today is Part 4 in my Intervention Series. Here are the previous posts:
Keep It Simple
I think one of the reasons data is dreaded is that it is often more complicated than it needs to be. I'm all about simplicity. I stick to a pretest and posttest. I make those tests as simple as possible.
If a student has been sent to me for help with long division, the pretest will be two problems. The post test will be two different problems. Students that can do two long division problems without mistakes, have mastered the skill.
Some skills, especially ELA skills are a bit more complicated. In all of my Super Star Skill packets (2nd Grade ELA) my pretests and posttests have 10 problems.
You can use one of my pretests and posttests for free in my free Compound Word Packet.
I use this simple form for every intervention group I have. Sometimes I give a pretest. Sometimes they took a test in their homeroom class that becomes their pretest score. Ultimately, this form helps me and the homeroom teacher know whether this intervention group was effective. I meet with the grade level team to share and check in about future interventions. Sometimes, looking at this simple data leads to discussions about how to support particular students. You can download the free basic PowerPoint here and adapt it to meet your needs.
Set the Tone
When you imagine a teacher telling the class they are having a test, do you hear the students groaning? We can't control all the tests we give. We all know the state tests are crazy long. Sometimes our district requires long benchmarks. With these kinds of tests, the teachers are the ones groaning.
On a day to day basis though, we have some control. If our curriculum has a long test, we can choose to make modifications. Often, I make my own.
While the length of the test sets a tone, so does what you say about it. A test can be a Celebration of Knowledge. A test is a chance for you to show how much you've learned. If you are clear about success criteria, a test is a chance to prove you know something. When I have students begging to take a test, I know I've set the right tone.