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3 Ways to Make the Most of Your Student Data This Spring

3 Ways to Make the Most of Your Student Data This Spring

At this point in the spring semester, you are likely swimming in student data and feeling the pinch of summative assessments approaching soon. Where do you start? What data points should you be digging into for instructional planning during these final months? In this blog post, we’re dialing in on three strategic areas for data-driven decision-making this spring to help you focus your attention and move the needle on student performance.

1. Focus reinforcement on on-grade-level essential standards before test day

A February 22nd letter issued by the U.S. Department of Education to state school chiefs and governors stated: “We remain committed to supporting all states in assessing the learning of all students.” While the directive was issued with an offering of flexibility with respect to accountability and reporting systems via state wavers, the stance on summative testing was made clear. Testing or not however, we know all teachers at their core still want every student to reach grade-level proficiency by the academic year’s end. With a focus on essential standards (also called priority standards or power standards, depending on the state) students will be equipped with the most critical academic information for ongoing success.

So, how do you do this? Start by exploring your state’s summative testing blueprints to discern what priority standards are for a given grade level and subject. Then, turn to your favorite program to see how students are tracking in those areas. In Edmentum’s standards-based practice and formative assessment solution, Study Island, educators can isolate standards gaps and deliver focused practice in those areas. Educators also have the option of building their own custom assessments to ensure that students can demonstrate success in strategic areas. Learn more about how Study Island can help students master essential standards in this recent webinar recording.

2. Plan and deliver targeted interventions to mitigate deeper skill gaps

Closing skill gaps and focusing on learning acceleration has been the name of the game in this hard-hit COVID-19 school year. While this is likely something you have prioritized since the beginning of the school year for students, use this final push to shore up strategic areas in math and reading that will get students back to grade level. This is where benchmark or interim assessment data can be most useful to help diagnose specific learning gaps. Use your winter (or spring) assessment window’s data for final recalibrations this school year.

Edmentum’s diagnostic-driven, individualized instruction program, Exact Path, is a great fit for this specific need. Using our computer-adaptive assessment, students can test in school or at home, and teachers will receive immediate actionable data to spot specific skill gaps and learner needs. Each diagnostic scale score is also paired with an immediate individualized learning path that begins where students are ready to start learning—whether that learning is on grade level, below, or above. Give your students the opportunity to work on just what they need so that your teacher-directed intervention is focused and relevant. Check out this recent webinar on mitigating skill gaps this spring with Exact Path for more information.

3. Explore summer learning needs, and plan for summer programming

More and more states are coming out with plans to expand and extend summer learning opportunities as a means of addressing learning losses during the pandemic. With Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief II (ESSER II) funds on the table specifically for this purpose, there’s good reason to do so. Don’t let students fall victim to the traditional summer slide in a year ridden with a myriad of learning disruptions. Your most recent benchmark data can be a good indicator of how far your summer programming should extend.

There are also other key planning questions to consider:

  • Will summer school only be available to learners who are struggling the most?
  • Will broader summer learning opportunities be extended to all?
  • Will summer learning occur in person, or will flexible virtual programming be warranted?
  • In addition to core academic subjects, should summer learning focus on mental health and wellness in preparation for a complicated re-entry in the 2021–22 school year?

As you’re planning to respond to these questions and others, make sure that you have proven programs to support the continuum of learning needs that your students are experiencing. Through Courseware, Edmentum offers accelerate courses in focused five- to nine-week math and ELA sections to help students master essential skills necessary for high school. 

Closing out the school year strong is within reach. Make sure that you have the right tools to inform data-driven instruction and set up students for success this summer and into next fall. Edmentum proudly partners with more than 8,000 school districts to improve student outcomes. Visit our website to learn more.

madison.michell's picture
Madison Michell

Madison Michell has been a member of the Edmentum team since 2014 and currently serves as a Marketing Manager. As a former Kindergarten and 3rd grade teacher during her time as a Teach For America corps member, she believes education truly has the power to transform lives. She is passionate about connecting educators with online programs, best practices, and research that improve teaching and learning for today's students.