Here are some really quick notes on the use of data in my current context. I am sure that these will be far too simple to be of great use to many people!
Obviously the everyday work of the teacher is to improve student learning. When this your overarching purpose then it becomes relevant to ask; what do I need to know to make the biggest impact? What the students know? What they need to know? how they learn? What will make the biggest impact? These are all essential questions that I continue to seek clarity on in daily practice.
At the moment I use a combination of assessment items, anecdotal records, formal assessments, writing samples, running records, and generally what I see and hear everyday to help make decisions in daily classroom activities. In a whole school sense, a combination of evidence described above as well NAPLAN and On Demand trend data, Staff, student and parent opinion surveys are utilised and Ausvels data help drive whole school decision making.
Decisions that are made using the data mentioned above include from a classroom perspective; what to teach and how to teach it. The whole school uses data to make decisions about strategy, goals and objectives to move forward.
It is important that the data is in fact relevant to the decisions that are made. It becomes apparent that if we are using data to make important decisions that misinterpreted data, or a lack of quality data can have serious consequences when we are trying to achieve our goals.
Collecting evidence for the things we do in school is important as it provides everybody with a clear base for why we do what we do. It is though at times time consuming. If we know what needs to happen, why can’t we just ‘go and get it done’? We need to find ways that collecting evidence is not an extra but that the actual process of collecting evidence becomes an enlightening experience for teacher unlocking truths that otherwise would not have been known.