Using D.A.T.A. to Give Meaning to Student Learning
As grades begin to close shortly after Thanksgiving Break, teachers will begin to generate report cards for all students within their classes. It is important to note that these reports of student understanding, growth, and mastery are the result of the many approaches to data collection of student learning in order to help give meaningful insight to the growth process.
What then do we mean by D.A.T.A.?
Data can provide information about student learning and here are some thoughts to consider about data to help you give meaning to your child’s learning. Of course, an ongoing partnership with your child’s teacher, and extension enrichment, such as homework completion, can provide even greater insight to this learning process.
First, think of data as D.A.T.A.! Data is a Depth measurement of your child’s learning. Such a measurement provides a benchmark of learning of taught curriculum content, and is information that educators, parents, and students can use to begin measuring learning and understanding for the purpose of making decisions about actions that can support growth.
D.A.T.A. promotes Accountability. Having reported information about students’ learning helps everyone, including the students themselves, to reflect on what could be done to promote improvements in learning or to celebrate progress. Lifelong learning is a continuous process, and it requires multiple persons, including teachers, support staff, parents/family, and the students themselves, to play a role in the learning process.
D.A.T.A. is not a Test of ability. Data is an indicator of student progress and it can be an indicator of student achievement and growth potential, and it can provide a glimpse into student learning. For example, data sometimes creates a reference point from which growth can be seen. Data is sometimes used to generate a snapshot of student understanding at a point in time, and it can also indicate when and where students need support, encouragement, and enrichment.
Finally, D.A.T.A. is Actionable! Once data has indicated growth areas and understanding concepts at a given point in time, educators can use data to make a decision about what your child needs to improve learning. You and your child can also use data to make a decision about what actions could improve or extend learning (e.g., get extra help in a subject, improve study habits, consistently complete homework, participate in an extracurricular club, etc.).
Therefore, please feel free to contact your child’s teacher relating to data insights and your child’s progress as we all partner together to help every child succeed to the best of their potential!
Best wishes and Happy Thanksgiving!
Mike Ling, Curriculum Director