EdWeek: Many schools “data-rich but information-poor”

Illustration by Bob Dahm for EdWeek.

Miss G. is blogging again with brief dispatches from long, long days in her new school. As hard as she’s working, she’s much happier:

Our kids took school made standardized tests in both reading and math last week and we spent all of today (7:15 – 6) analyzing the data in grades and as a school. We made data driven plans, formed intervention groups, and talked about trends we were noticing and how to continue the great ones and stop the not so great ones. Tomorrow is data day 2 – more planning and looking at numbers and standards and tests and discussing these tests that we now all have memorized. And this is reason #131 why I came to this school. This is great instruction. My old school has most of this stuff on file, too – the only difference is that most of it is contrived for the purpose of the quality review and then never used – by anyone. Here, it’s used – breathed.

Her previous experience of data being available but not well-used may be the more common. According to EdWeek, a new report from the US Department of Education shows that most teachers now have access to student performance data, but far fewer have access to recent data or training in how to use it well. And very few have time during school or paid professional development hours to look at data and really use it to plan. “[T]eachers in the study were more likely to use data to inform parents about how individual students were doing than to help guide curriculum changes or identify effective instructional practices,” EdWeek reports.

Is data for show only, integrated into planning, or somewhere in between at your school? What kind of professional development have you participated in on this topic? Has the push to collect more data and use it to improve instruction changed your teaching practice?

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