Data, Data, Data…

I work at a data driven school so we collect and look at data ALL the time. It drives our instruction. There’s definitely acknowledgement of qualitative data as well and we pour over student work, we conference with students, so we do make informed decisions using both qualitative and quantitative data. However, sometimes the sheer amount of data overwhelms and bums me (and the students) out.

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Case in point: my advisory/homeroom class. I’ve seen their math growth with regard to the math practices (as well as math content), but that is not really evident on their mid-year benchmark (which probably isn’t the best benchmark to begin with). Thankfully, we’re a SBG school so I can show them their math growth, but I can’t take the look in their eyes when they see that they haven’t made growth based on this one mid-line benchmark. I’ll be the first to admit my students are not where they need to be. Many are 6th graders reading far below grade level. The same is true of their numerical fluency.  So….I get it, but then I don’t. I know the mid-line is just a snapshot of how they did on that one particular day. So, I have a lot of feels about the message that they get when they see that. It’s a conversation that’s developing at my (fairly still new) school about how best to measure student growth, specifically in math. There’s fairly straightforward DRP (Degrees of Reading Power) to measure their reading growth. And when the DRP doesn’t give us helpful information we do running records, an oral assessment that accurately tells us students’ decoding, fluency, and comprehension of text. We have a pretty well developed rubric for argument writing, so we can see their growth and for what it’s worth it actually means something. Measuring math growth isn’t comparable to the other two. Growing 12% just means you got 12% of the questions correct or you guessed 12% better this time around. We’re using SBG and it just “feels right” to somehow incorporate that when we are trying to analyze student growth in math. And it would give me back teaching time…

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