There’s no denying that technology plays a massive role in modern instruction; in fact, 71% of teachers regularly use technology in classroom activities. Today’s classrooms generate more data than any teacher, coach, or administrator could ever analyze; attempting to do so would be like trying to boil the ocean.
But how can school leaders determine which data sets are worth their time and attention?
There are, of course, the tried-and-true data sets that school administrators have focused on for decades. But the continued advancement of edtech tools has introduced new (or newly accessible) data sets worth considering.
Let’s start with the data sets that most school leaders will be familiar with.
4 Common School Data Sets
Most schools have existing systems in place to track the most commonly-used data sets:
Interim and Summative Assessment
These data sources are a good starting point, but accomplishing your district’s strategic objectives may require a more nuanced or in-depth set of data to make critical decisions.
4 New School Data Sets
Tracking standards coverage can provide a window into instructional efficacy. Monitoring this data set can help ensure that students are frequently exposed to power standards, monitor instructional pacing, and inform lesson planning.
Measuring standards coverage requires teachers to tag/label assignments if it’s not built into existing tools. Standardizing these labels is recommended for best results.
Monitoring formative practice helps ensure that students have adequate chances to practice key skills throughout the year. It also helps teachers determine the appropriate rigor for each lesson while quickly identifying knowledge gaps.
Effectively tracking formative practice requires combining assessment data from a vast array of sources (from quizzes to exit tickets and beyond) to be easily accessed and summarized. Too much “legwork” to wrangle this data may result in inconsistent usage.
Monitoring assignment engagement is key to spotting homework gaps and quantifying student disengagement. It can also help teachers understand how long their assignments are taking students overall and by subgroup (like tiers).
Monitoring assignment engagement - like most data tracking - requires a strong culture to avoid instilling a “big brother” feeling in teachers and students. For more on this, check out our post on the 4 pillars of a strong school data culture.
Keeping track of communication with families/caregivers can help keep outreach equitable and consistent (not just for those that need interventions). It can also serve as a preventative measure for chronic absenteeism and mitigate end-of-term “grade shock”.
Tracking family communication arguably requires the most manual work to do consistently. Logging offline interactions - like a chance encounter with a parent in the pickup line - and taking the time to craft personalized messages can be inhibiting for overworked educators. However, the long-term benefits make tracking home outreach an undertaking worth pursuing.
To be clear, more commonly-used school data sets still hold a lot of importance. But new edtech tools make it easier than ever to explore cutting-edge data sets that could make a meaningful difference in your school or district’s strategic planning. For that reason, we think they’re worth exploring!
And if you’re looking for a tool that can help you track these cutting-edge data sets, check out Schoolytics.