Data is Good, But Engagement is Better!

Whether it’s from NWEA, iReady, ALEKS or state testing, you have data.  Technology has made this access to data simple, but using the data to achieve student growth in the classroom is a whole different story.  Why does the student care about what the latest score suggests?  In many cases, the student doesn’t.  So how do you get students interested in data?  Simple…get them engaged in learning.

Last August, education author Weston Kieschnick spoke at a conference hosted by the NWOESC.  Weston preached throughout the presentation that “Curiosity is the prerequisite to engagement.”  His message was so simple, yet profound, especially when you consider how education tends to frontload data to “inspire” student learning.  The reality is that most students are not inspired by seeing their numbers.  

Even so, data can inform instruction.  It all depends on “how.”  The following are tips on how to use data effectively to excite student learning and promote growth.

Tip #1

Use the data from diagnostic assessments, but try doing real-world applications first before jumping to the prescribed learning path on the computer.

Tip #2

Choose the instructional strategy that most effectively addresses the student’s need (as defined by the data) and has the greatest potential for creating growth. Technology may have been used to get the data, but it may or may not be used as a part of the instructional strategy.

In the two “effective” examples shared in the tips above, real-world approaches to learning are applied.  Both also involve the student application of Cognitive Task Analysis.  Why is this so important?  John Hattie, professor of education and director of educational research at the University of Melbourne, has ranked the effective application of cognitive task analysis (CTA) at number 4.  By using CTA in classroom projects, students have a greater chance of achieving over one year’s growth during the calendar school year.  Technology did provide the data, but it did not drive the instructional approach.  

Technology is essential in today’s classroom.  It should be used when appropriate, but not all of the time.  Consider how your next lesson can benefit from the data provided by technology to create engaging, real-world projects that don’t always rely on a computer.  Have fun engaging!

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