We are often told we must be a data-driven teacher. What does it mean though? In the classroom, there are endless data points a teacher can pull from. So many data points, in fact, we often wind up drowning in it.
While being a data-driven teacher carries a lot of power, it can also lead to mistakes when we don’t take the responsibility of data seriously. The fact is, being a data-driven teacher can lead to some serious mistakes.
Data-Driven Teacher Mistake #1:
Focusing on the Wrong Data
In the classroom, we have so many points of data collection it can become overwhelming. When looking at a sea of data it is easy to have our focus pulled in directions we don’t need it to be.
Before you begin to look at your data, establish what it is you are actually looking for. The more specific the better.
For example, if you are looking for how students performed on a perimeter and area math standard only look at the data for the specific standard you are evaluating. If you look only at what you need, it is much harder to get distracted and go off on a tangent.
I cannot tell you how many times I began looking at data with one goal in mind only to get lost in the sea and wound up with absolutely nothing of use.
When we take the time to establish what data is important and what can wait until later we can be more effective users of data.
Data-Driven Teacher Mistake #2:
Not Thinking Student First
Being a data-driven teacher serves the purpose of being the best for our students.
When we forget what we are looking at data for we might as well not look at it at all.
We are in the classroom to serve our students, and every piece of data we look at should be through the lens of wh
at is best for our students. We must always put their needs, not our own or that of our administration, first.
When you look at data from the point of view of helping students to thrive in their classroom environment everything else can fall away.
Data-Driven Teacher Mistake #3:
Lacking a Clear Plan and Goal
How many times have you sat down to look at data and after a significant amount of time thought to yourself, “What am I even doing?”
Honestly, this has happened to me way more times than I care to admit.
Instead of looking at data first and developing a goal later, start with a clear goal you want to reach and make a plan for how to use the data available to make it happen.
By starting with your goal and working backward to the data your use of the data will be much more meaningful.
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