Practice Activity: Graphing and Analyzing Classroom Data
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Analyze classroom data

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Do your teachers analyze their classroom data? Do they know how to analyze their data? What evidence do you see in your school that teachers use classroom data results to inform their instructional decisions? If you answered no to any of these questions, then your staff needs professional development in this area.

What data should you analyze?

Teachers can’t analyze classroom data unless they have it. A major purpose of the monitoring plan is to put in place a system for the ongoing collection of data aligned with the content standard indicators you are responsible for teaching. You can’t analyze data you don’t have. And it is not useful to analyze data that is not aligned with your learning outcomes. Once you have the data, you are ready to analyze it.

Why analyze classroom data?

Your purpose in analyzing classroom data is to determine what your students have learned, what they need help to learn and how you need to plan instruction to ensure that they all do learn. In an Educational Leadership article entitled, “Developing Data Mentors,” by Beverly Nichols and Kevin Singer, the authors say that “gathering student-assessment data is not enough. Administrators and teachers must learn to analyze the data and apply this information in the classroom.”

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There are a number of key questions that your classroom data analysis should address.

Key questions to ask about student performance on an assessment:

  • What content standard indicator(s) was I assessing?
  • What percent of my students demonstrated proficiency?
  • What implications does that have for my instruction?
  • Which students need more time learning this?
  • How will I provide that?
  • What diagnostic information did I get from this assessment?
  • How will I use that information in my instructional program?

Key questions to ask about student performance across time on an individual indicator:

  • How many times have I assessed this indicator?
  • What percent of my students have demonstrated proficiency?
  • Of the students who have not, what diagnostic information do I have about what students need help with?
  • What progress am I seeing over time?
  • Is my re-teaching or other intervention resulting in student proficiency?
  • How am I going to use this information for improved student achievement?

Key questions to ask about student performance across time and across indicators:

  • Do I have any students who are not attaining proficiency across indicators?
  • Which students are most at risk?
  • What diagnostic information do I have about them to inform instruction?
  • What classroom interventions have I tried? What interventions do I plan to try next?
  • What extended time interventions have I tried? What do I plan to do next?
  • Do I need to consider program interventions?
  • When I compare performance by subgroups (e.g., by racial group, gender, students with disabilities, ESL students, or students in the free and reduced meals program), do I see any groups not performing as well as the whole group?
  • If so, what am I going to do about that?

There are a number of other resources that will help you identify how to analyze classroom data.

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