Use of data to inform instruction is the critical reason we collect the data. Collecting student performance data and not using it to inform instruction would be a waste of valuable teacher time and yet that is exactly what occurs in many schools. The usefulness of the classroom monitoring data is to help you understand where your students are in relationship to the content standard indicators staff are responsible for teaching so that you can make informed decisions about what you need to do next.
The following examples are some ways that principals, team leaders, and department chairs can promote the use of data to inform instruction.
- Showcase teacher practices using data to inform instruction at staff or team meetings. Have a teachers explain what data they used and how they used it in 3-5 minutes. You could showcase one example each meeting.
- Ask each department or team to come up with one example of how someone on their team (or their team as a whole) used data to inform instruction. Have them share the information at a staff meeting.
- Provide professional development on this topic for all staff. It could be handled as its own topic or it could be integrated in other topics being explored.
- Include this professional development training in one of the sessions you provide your new teachers.
- In post observation conferences, always ask teachers how they used data to inform instruction in the lesson/unit you observed.
- Include regular data dialogues in your school and focus attention on the how are you going to use the data to change instruction question.
- Set an expectation that ongoing team examinations of student work will take place and will address the how they are using the examination data to inform instruction.
- Ask teachers questions about student learning in their classrooms that require them to focus on how the use data to change instruction.
- Model for staff how you use data to inform instructional program decisions.
- Regularly ask these three questions:
- Where are your students?
- What evidence do you have?
- What will you do next?
- Make the what will you do next? question a collaborative inquiry dialogue.
- Lead a study group on the topic.