#SOL15: More Questions than Answers

So the data is in, now what?

Progress Monitoring and Intervention requirements are set by the system.

But how to focus?

What do students REALLY need?

What questions will help the teachers move forward?

How can we organize the data to use it?

Here is my thinking.

We have all this data from the screener used three times a year.

Step One:  What if I put student names into the boxes so I can “see” who the students are that both did and did not meet the benchmark criteria? I plan to also record the score after the name so I can see those students who just made the benchmark and those who maxed out that part. Similarly, I can see those students who just missed the benchmark and those who are farther out from the targets.

grade 1 data sort

Correction to Chart Above – Nonsense Words – Fall = 9, Winter = 15, Spring = 20

Grade 1 FAST TIER Data Sort

Step Two:  So what?

Should I use “Messy Sheets” to triangulate the data and look for patterns?  You can learn about “messy sheets” in the preview of Clare and Tammy’s Assessment in Perspective available here or in my post here.

Because this was a screener, there is no additional information about student performance/miscues.

What if we begin by looking at just the Sight Words subtest?

(Thinking about the fact that sight words, AKA snap words or heart words, drain time and brain power when a student has to stop and attempt to sound out “said” on every page of the book.)

What if we provide some instruction and begin to look for patterns in response to instruction?

Which students are successful?  

Which students are on target for the end of the year goals?

Does EVERYONE in the class need some work with sight words?

ONE way to sort this out might be to begin with the whole class.

blog one

Hmm . . . This adds more detail and now I am considering more than “red, green” and “does or does not meet the benchmark”.

But is this more helpful?

blog two

What do the students in the group scoring from 0-10 on sight words need?

Is it the same as those students in the 11-20 group?

Is there a difference in intensity for the interventions?  Frequency? Total time?  What will really close the gap and get the students on a trajectory to close the gap?

How do ALL students get what they need in order to continue making progress?

Are there some commonalities that ALL students may need?


How do you handle this dilemma – When your data just causes more questions?


Tuesday is the day to share a “Slice of Life” with Two Writing Teachers. Thank you, Anna, Betsy, Beth, Dana, Deb, Kathleen, Stacey, and Tara. Check out the writers, readers and teachers here. 

8 responses

  1. Hmmm. Yes, all that data and then what. Seems to me if the data doesn’t give us next steps it isn’t “good” data. Just saying…

    1. 🙂
      You are so wise!

  2. I think that by nature we are collectors of data. As you say, what do we do with it. We would have team meetings to look at and try to analyze the data. Since we had an intervention period built into our day we would use the data to place students into a group that would hopefully benefit them the most. Because we collected data four times a year these groups were fluid and students would come and go as their needs changed.

    1. I so understand when folks say they are drowning in data. Finding a real purpose and figuring out how to prioritize is so VERY tricky!

  3. sallydonnelly11 | Reply

    Julianne mentioned in her comment to my post that both you and I had a similar theme…I see what she means. Data!! Thank you for recording and sharing all your questions. Reading your Slice almost felt like we were just having a conversation at the coffee shop. And I needed to have such a conversation today! If only we worked in the same district but for now I’ll celebrate that I get to “talk” with you on Tuesdays!

    1. Long distance chats work!

      So much to consider! Looking forward to the Saturday reunion. It’s been a BUSY fall!

  4. We think data should always push us to ask more questions or take action. When we look at data with an inquiry stance we are more likely to find the story and use the information. Since you were using a screener we would always suggest you triangulate – a screener only tells us if we are worried or not worried. Not why we are worried. We think this data should always be triangulated to get the story. You can also gather formative data from a screener. Sometimes a student doesn’t pass because they are inaccurate, other times they are accurately slow, others reread many times and this slows them down, and others stop to closely read and this causes them to be slow.

    Keep asking questions and digging deeper to understand the story of your readers!! Only then can we use the information to make a difference.

    Thank you sharing your process and reflections on data collection and analysis!
    Clare and Tammy

    1. Thanks for your wisdom.

      Screeners have become so powerful in some situations that avoiding bad practices is always a concern of mine. Great reminder tht numbers are whether we are worried and then we dig for the story!!!

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