Bright ideas for tech-savvy educators, right to your inbox

How-To: Four Ways to Put Your Testing Data to Good Use

Monday, April 28, 2014 -- Beth Holine

So you have your student data back from the standardized tests. Maybe the results were great, or maybe the results were not so great. Either way, you should use that data to drive planning for the next school year. Below are just a few of the ways you can put the data you have to good use.

Summer Intervention

Summer brain drain is real. Studies show that students lose a third of the information they learned in the previous school year by the time summer break is over. In an attempt to prevent this, schools and districts have implemented various summer programs, including intervention. The problem is that only students who are currently identified as struggling by their assessment performance are usually invited.

By the time the summer brain drain takes effect, even students on the bubble will be struggling when they come back to school. Make sure you use assessment scores to properly make identifications, and try widening the net when it comes time to invite students to summer intervention.

 

Planning Next Year’s Programs or Lessons

Using data to drive instruction is not just key in initiatives like Response to Intervention, it is sound educational practice for both teachers and administrators.

As a teacher, you need to adopt an impartial view of your scores. Where did your students fall short in your curriculum? Is there a particular unit or concept that didn’t get the traction you thought it would? If so, then go back to that lesson plan taking the same impartial view, and modify it until it’s just as good as the others.

As an administrator, you are (hopefully) already impartial, but your challenge is taking the data and implementing school-wide improvement strategies. That may take the form of a new after-school reading program or some professional development opportunities for your teachers that center around the gradual release model.

 

Tools and Resources

Not all educational professionals are data analysts (although in a few more years, they might be). It may take some online tools to analyze your data and translate that data into actionable steps. You want the process to be as seamless as possible. In any data migration (taking data from one program and installing it into another), problems can occur. Customer service and a track record of success are priorities.

 

New Grants and Funding Sources

A silver lining in scores that aren’t up to expectations is that low-performing schools tend to have more funding opportunities in the form of grants. After all, grantors and foundations want to improve the education in schools that need to be improved. Every school should have a grant hunter, usually the department head(s) of the primary subject areas. Make sure to remind them that the school might qualify for new funding that wasn’t available before.

 

Want to learn how Edmentum can help you use your high-stakes data to increase learner achievement? Find out more about our solutions here.