The Achievement Gap and Middle School Math

Closing the Teach For America Blogging Gap
Sep 04 2012

Use data for pattern-seeking, not just assessing!

TFA has gotten pretty good at using student data to inform instruction and track progress of students and teachers. (Sometimes I think TFA doesn’t always track exactly the right things, but that’s a topic for another day!)

I’ve recently been thinking about broadening the use of this student data beyond the typical “Oh, <student 1> has not mastered this objective, I need to make sure he gets some extra time/support to work on this some more,” or “my classes’ scores aren’t where I want them to be, I need to figure out how to get them to increase.”

Neither of these is a bad way to use data, but I want to try to break the assumption that data can only be used for assessment (formative or summative). Student data can (and should!) also be used to try to find patterns in your students’ progress, in your classes as a whole, and in your whole school.

If you organize data in useful ways and analyze it to try to find new patterns, this process can often provide new insights into how to improve teaching and learning at the school.

Here’s my latest thinking on how to link your data in useful ways and use it not just for tracking progress, but also to uncover previously unobserved patterns and trends among your students….

After reading the post, please let me know if you know of schools that are doing a particular good (or bad) job of using data in this way. I’m curious to find some more examples of this in practice…..

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    Closing the achievement gap with middle school math

    Metro Atlanta
    Middle School

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