This resonated with me because I had just attended a building professional development session where teachers were analyzing and reflecting on their reading fluency data from the past few years. Some teachers brought up great points about looking at growth, and not being so focused on achieving a certain percentage; but personally, no matter how you approach data, when students aren't demonstrating understanding of a concept, action steps and innovation need to occur. It can be easy to look at formative or summative data and come up with explanations as to why the data is what it is, but that doesn't sit well with me. Simply putting a stake in the ground and saying "this is just how our data always looks," goes against two questions a PLC responds to (Dufour's PLC Four Essential Questions):
- What do we expect our students to learn?
- How will we know if they are learning?
- How will we respond if they don't learn?
- How will we respond if they already know it?
I see data as a puzzle piece which helps tell a student's story and allows a teacher to make changes, innovate their teaching practices, and collaborate with their PLC, in order to create learning opportunities and structures suited for each student. By no means am I saying data the sole piece, but with it, teachers can work toward the common goal of student learning.
Instead of burying data, let's respond to it and act on it!