Data-Driven Instruction: Essential to Quality Teaching & Learning
Data-driven instruction sounds complex. For that reason, many administrators choose a canned product that purportedly manages design and analysis leaving only one part of implementation to the users—give the test.
Effective use of data requires teachers have a shared understanding of data and build assessments around real-time curriculum.
In order for a data-driven process to be really effective, interim assessments must not only align to summative assessments, i.e., state mandated annual testing, they must also align to what is really going on in the classroom. For that reason, locally designed assessments can be very powerful tools—if built on shared understandings of what makes a quality assessment.
In her workshops, Dr. Dea reaches teachers by involving them in analysis of their own assessment tools. Teachers are urged to bring an actual assessment—formative, interim, or summative—and the corresponding student answers. This instrument becomes the focus of the learning process: What data does the tool provide? Is the data real-time? What standards does the tool target? How is that data used? What do student responses tell you about the assessment? What do their responses tell you about standards’ proficiencies with the standards? How will instruction be adapted based on this analysis?
In the past, teachers have not been prepared as assessment writers. Rather, they have been consumers of prepackaged goods provided by wrap-around programs. Some schools have made progress in building their educators’ understanding of assessment design while others are just beginning. Because of that, Dr. Dea designs each of her workshops to fit the needs of the district. Regardless of where you are on the road of data-driven instruction, learning about and applying quality assessment writing practices will support your teachers’ knowledge of the standards and their alignment of instruction to those standards.
Dr. Dea has worked with a number of schools as they build a grass-roots response to the growing demand for testing relevance and she looks forward to talking to you about building your local assessment toolbox.