Data should empower. Data should provide insights. Data should inspire more questions. Without a positive framework, capacity building, and expertise – data is often thought of as scrutinizing, overly subjective, and a burden.
So let me propose my model:
We have to start by trusting teachers to be the well versed experts that they are. If a teacher is noticing something – it should carry weight. Use what they notice to leverage action that meets their interests.
What might be the reason behind what we are noticing? What data would show this? This stage should include data decisions like developing collection techniques or just finding where it already exists.
Gather the data – eg. collect it from surveys, aggregate from our data sources – and develop visual models (with the help of a data coach). A good visualization should allow for rich conversation and insights.
Does the data support what we’re noticing? Does it call for new action? Who should be made aware of what we found?
Then lather rinse repeat – or jump back and forth between the steps. This process should lead to more questions. Beginning with listening puts the power of the data relationship squarely in the hands of the people closest to the data – the teachers. Are there more steps than I’ve listed? Of course – but that’s for our inner data nerd. The goal of this model is accessibility.
Lets run an example:
Stage 1 – Listening and Noticing: In a recent department meeting, I heard a partner teacher struggling to reach learners in their classroom.
Stage 2 – Questioning: The question we came up with, “Are students entering my course at a wide range of ability levels? Or are my lessons not reaching different types of learners?”
Stage 3 – Analysis: We looked at MAP scores for that class when compared to the grade. The green density plot is the entire grade while the purple density plot is the one class.
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