April Showers and April Data Dump


Tuesday is the day to share a “Slice of Life” with Two Writing Teachers. Check out the writers, readers and teachers here. 



April Showers have been devastating in many regions of the United States this week.  Equally devastating is the April Data Dump that is happening in many schools across the United States.  Are you drowning in data?


How many of these pieces of data have you accumulated for each of your students?


  • National Assessments
  • Local Assessments
  • Benchmark Assessments 
  • MAP 
  • STAR Reading 
  • STAR Math
  • NWEA 
  • Accelerated Reader Tests
  • Unit Tests
  • Screeners
  • Formative Assessments
  • Book Logs
  • Rubrics
  • Checklists
  • Running Records
  • Observations

Do you have others that are not on the list?  Does each piece of data match up and tell the same story or is there a dissonance from conflicting data including the student’s work in the classroom during reading or writing workshop?  What is the role of data in instruction?

Which assessments REALLY inform your instruction?
What do you change, today, in your instruction as a result of your assessment data?
How do you make a mid-class period correction to ensure every student is learning?

When you have data collected, it needs to be organized and then it needs to be USED to inform instruction. This sounds simple but additional ideas about data are shared by Brianna Friedman at her blog entitled “Adventures in Staff Development” and more specifically in her February 18th post, “What Does the Data Say?”  In today’s slice, Jana tells a story from the view of teachers reviewing the data in “Data Review – – Evaluation or Judgement?”

The number of days left in this school year are finite.  If you are counting those days, my hope is that you have set your end goal targets and are counting the days in order to allocate precious, finite resources that will help all students reach the targets. Every minute, hour, and day is an opportunity for student learning!  

How are you utilizing data to inform instruction and maximize student learning in order to meet your end of the year goals?



8 responses

  1. Yes, drowning in data. Thanks for the article, Fran!

    1. Thanks, Tara.

      We may have little control over the great quantities of data and assessments but we do have control over our own response. Find the gold and work on the goals!

  2. I’m doing Jennifer Servallo’s Independent Reading Assessment. Lots of work but it shows what they can do. We don’t get data from any testing this year. They are doing the test is sort of a test of the test. How can it change instruction with 20 some more days… I’m conferring with students trying to make it place to grow from as they work to summer months and sixth grade. Some are asking — will I have to do this Common Core next year? Uh, yeah. Thanks for the link! I’m looking to find that “gold” maybe they’ll want to find more.

    1. Julieanne,
      I have both of Jennifer’s “Playbooks” (K-2 and 3-6) and she makes so much sense in those about being planful. I just worry that now that the “big tests” are done that instruction is going to be less deliberate and focused. I hope I am worrying in vain! 🙂

  3. It is so important to ask these questions and use the data. We make sure we are balancing these formal assessment with formative assessments. Teaching with an assessment stance ensures we are authentically assessing every day. We also use displays to help us use data. Displays get us out from under the piles of paper and call us to action! Thanks for this powerful post!

    1. Thanks so much for your comments, Clare and Tammy. Balance, assessment stance and displays are all critical components of “using data” to inform instruction. It all has to be meaningful in order for student learning to stay focused on the “learning!”

  4. Conflicting data was what we found out yesterday in our data review. We definitely need to look at the results more carefully again. I am, however, not sure that all my teaching needs to be focused on the standardized test data results. So many other great things are happening in our classrooms. Perhaps one day formative assessment will make up the majority of the data that we use. Or am I dreaming?
    P.S. Thank you for linking my post!

    1. Jaana,
      If you are dreaming, I’m right there with you. Formative assessment needs to be valued. I appreciate the fact that “one number” is not really telling us the whole story. The timing on your post was perfect this morning as I was getting ready to link my “slice” and then went back and added to it! (You are welcome! Thanks for the timeliness of your own “slice.”)

      Another great post today was http://kinderconfidential.wordpress.com/ “More than a Number, More than a Letter”

      Again, looking for the gold . . . what are we doing right as we use data that actually helps us determine next teaching points and lets students be part of the goal setting! It’s time for a “Win – Win” for the students!

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