24 May 2016

Why Are We So Data Driven?

As the year is winding down for me and for many of you as well, I am sure you are trying to squeeze in all those last minute required test or screenings.   This really got me to thinking, why are we so data driven in our profession?

Now, please don't misunderstand me, I LOVE a good piece of data on a student.  I find that is very beneficial in helping me see where a child is at a the beginning of the year, where they need to be by the end of the year, and to help set a goal.  But are we overloading on FORMAL data?   Between the DIBELS, SLT, Beginning and End of Year Test, STAR Math and Reading, Core Concepts, CCCR Records, and more.  I am just wondering if there comes a point when you have too much data, when all you really need is ONE or TWO pieces of GOOD data on a student.

I have been teaching for sometime now (about 16 years ... did I just say this a loud), and I have seen more and more added to the plate as far as formal data keeping goes for teachers.  I know this is in large fact due to teachers being held accountable and The No Child Left Behind Act. But I honestly find that I really only use a few pieces of data to set up my RTI groups and assess my students, the rest I am doing just for paper work, because I am told and it has to be turned in.   I find that keeping track on my ONE or TWO pieces of good data is more beneficial for the STUDENT and ME, than having 20 different pieces.  It just feels like an overload at times.  Does anyone else feel this way?

So, now that you have all this data, what do you do with it?  For me,  I use my data to help set up my RTI groups.   It also allows me to see where a child is strong and weak.  The data I collect lets me know what specific interventions I need to apply.  However, I still usually focus only on two sometimes three main sources of formal data to help me in this task.  To make other assessments on my students, I use other forms INFORMAL assessments such as exit slips, projects, and in class assignments.   We as teachers are with our students on a daily basis.  We see the hard work and effort put in by these kiddos.  We know the potential they can reach.  I am just wondering how many "formal assessments" we need on a child in order to make a professional judgement.

What are some of your favorite pieces of data you use?  How do you use it to drive your instruction?  I would love to hear from you.
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