Better information about student performance leads to better instruction if data is used intelligently.

When teachers use data to discuss their instructional strengths and weaknesses with other teachers, they model the very 21st-century skills they are teaching students: communication, collaboration and innovation.

Plus, data-driven instruction is gratifying. Research shows that when teachers use data to evaluate and adjust their instruction to impact student learning, they feel re-energized about teaching and report increased job satisfaction.

The Center for Transforming Learning and Teaching offers these basic steps for using assessment results to improve teaching strategies:

  1. Look for patterns and trends about what students know and don’t know. Which standards appear most challenging?
  2. Make observations about those patterns or trends. Do some standards require special skills or tools?
  3. Prioritize observations. Which need to be dealt with right away?
  4. Turn observations into problem statements. What are the underlying reasons for students’ lack of progress?
  5. Translate problem statements into goals. What targets are rigorous yet reasonable?
  6. Determine indicators of success. How will you know when the problem has been solved or goal has been met?
  7. Identify action steps that will eliminate the problem. What are the small steps that add up to big improvements over time?
  8. Identify success indicators to track over time to determine if action steps are having the desired effect. How will you know student learning is improving?
Introduction Technology-literate learners