Why We Data Dig

Data has always fascinated me. The telling facts of what is being done well or really wrong. That the data can be misconstrued to tell a whole different story depending on how you look at it. The way my teaching has evolved because of the data.

I started collecting my own personal data with my students when I started teaching keyboarding. I kept track of their words per minute weekly, their average, growth, and tied it to their technique as well. Over the years, as I became more comfortable analyzing my data and seeing where students were lacking, I understood where I needed to adjust my teaching strategies. I started really focusing on where each individual student was and what I needed to do to get them to the next level and see their growth. My differentiation techniques expanded. I became less afraid to try new things. Why? The new things I was trying with students helped students to grow exponetially, and the climate in my room was that of the students really taking ownership of their learning. They were happy; they were having dialogue about what they were doing differently; they said thank you!

When I started the job as a Technology Coach, I was afraid that I would lose being able to have that data to work with and to improve myself. However, our Instructional Support Center staff has included me in many of our data digs. I have been digging deeply into our WKCE scores, MAP data at the middle schools and the Plan/Explore data at the high school over the past few months.

In my data digging, I found that we have some areas to work on. But, who doesn’t? That’s why we collect data and analyze it. So we can improve. By digging into the data, I’ve become astounded at just how different our students are from each other. And that staff don’t always see that if a student isn’t doing his/her work that the student still might know the material really well.

At our district Data Festival this past week, I watched my colleagues take in the data we had and that we’d been looking at for months. I watched their shocked faces when they realized what the students will need to score proficient on our upcoming state tests. I listened to their amazing conversations about what they can do differently next year with moving to block scheduling and having an I/E block built into their schedules. I helped staff find and manipulate the data to meet students where they are and brainstormed ways to help them grow. I witnessed the complete and total caring for each and every student in our district.

So my task for myself this summer is to continue to analyze the data I have and look at ways to support the staff and students with technology. I’m working on creating a site for the common core math standards and types of lessons, games, tutorials, etc. can be used in across the grade levels. I’m finding more ways to use technology for formative assessments and provide students a larger variety of formative assessments. I’m finding resources that can be used for I/E blocks.

I know that with the wonderful, caring staff that we have and the best resources possible (plus that 86 minute class and I/E blocks!), we will see tremendous growth in our students.