Monday, January 18, 2016

Using Data In the Classroom

Hi all! Stephanie from The Marvelous Middle here to talk with you about using data in the classroom, which is a topic that I feel passionate about (yes, this ELA teacher loves numbers!). I use data in my classroom from formal assessments and informal assessments. Using data takes time and it takes practice.

The easiest place to start is with FORMAL ASSESSMENTS (receive a grade). These may include district-wide assessments (we use NWEA Map Testing) and end of unit assessments. With each end of unit assessment that I give, I list all of the content standards that are being assessed. I also label each question with a corresponding standard, so as I grade I can see quickly what standards my students are mastering and which they are struggling with.

Here is an example from my 8th grade science fiction unit formal assessment:

  • There are six questions that assess 8.RL.2. If the student answers at least five of the six questions correctly, the student shows mastery. If the student answers at least four of the six questions correctly, the student shows partial mastery. 
  • There are three questions that assess 8.RL.5. If the student answers all three answers correctly, mastery is shown. If two questions are correct, then partial mastery is documented.
Using this data, I can easily determine which students I need to re-teach the content. Students would then have differentiated instruction based on their mastery level. This data should be shared with students so they are aware of their own mastery level and what they need to do in order to increase their mastery level. Formal assessments do not have to be only tests. They can include projects and portfolios if these are linked to specific standards.

INFORMAL ASSESSMENTS (not receiving a grade) are less time consuming and easier to implement in the classroom. They are the perfect way to progress monitor your students in a flash. One way I do this is by using exit tickets. Below are the types of exit slips I use most often:

1. Triangle, Square, Circle
2. Open Ended
3. 14 Words

I will leave you with a favorite quote of mine regarding assessment (I know...I'm a data nerd!)

"An education usb;t how much you have committed to memory, or even how much you know. It's being able to differentiate between what you know and what you don't." ~~Anatole France


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