01 Oct Organizing and Displaying Assessment Data So We Can Use It
Data meetings are up and running in our partner schools! We are so excited about how teachers are using instructional planning displays – also know as “Messy Sheets” to organize the information they are observing. We are hearing from our colleagues that it is helping them use the data right away and it is saving them a lot of time!
Here are two practical ideas that have been working well:
1) Using the Messy Sheets as you are administering and analyzing your formal assessments to record instructional needs.
Many teachers administer an individual diagnostic reading assessment such as the Developmental Reading Assessment (DRA) or the Benchmark Assessment System (BAS). Rather than going through each assessment after all the students have been assessed, these teachers are documenting what they are noticing on the Messy Sheet as they are in the process of assessing. For example, if a student is not cross-checking or is not sure how to determine a character’s feelings, the teacher records the instructional need in the circle and writes the student’s initials under that circle. Teachers have mentioned to us that they typically feel that all they do for the first 6 weeks is assess and using the messy sheet as they assess has helped them shift that feeling to assessing and instructing. Now if they notice that several students have a common need they use the data immediately to adjust upcoming focus lessons for reader’s workshop. This also jumpstarts the October unit of study since they have all their students’ needs displayed in one spot.
2) Using the Messy Sheets as you are administering and analyzing your formal assessments to record instructional text levels/interests.
Once again, it can be frustrating to wait until all your readers have been assessed to match them to texts. Many of our colleagues are matching their students while they are administering the assessment. They have several baskets of texts ready to go so they can talk to the student about the type of text they need to work on their goals. The student can look through the texts and select texts that interest him. The teacher also takes this opportunity to record the students’ instructional level and text interests on a Messy Sheet to help her plan small group instruction in the upcoming weeks.
Assessment it only as powerful as the teacher who uses it! We must find ways to make data accessible and usable. This system is helping teachers organize the data on the go and use it to make immediate adjustments to their instruction.