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How To Use Data To Effectively Drive Instruction

2016 September 30
by HISD Communications

The following is a blog entry from the Professional Development & Support team:

One thing I hate to do is stop and get gas. It’s expensive, time consuming, the fumes are intoxicating and it can be just an overall hassle.

However, as much as I hate turning in to Shell every Wednesday and Saturday, I know that if I want my car to work properly, I have to fill up my tank with gas. Otherwise, I would not be able to drive my car without destroying the engine and breaking down, and I would ultimately fail to reach my desired destination. And as teachers, we too have a destination to reach. We are trying to drive our instruction to the corner of Content Mastery Blvd. and High Student Achievement Avenue.

But, we must have G.A.S. in our tanks in order to be successful. So what is G.A.S. and how do I get it? Gather. Assess. Strategize.

  • Gather all scope and sequence information, lesson plans, best practices and school approved resources to determine where students need to be and what they have yet to master. Then create a timeline as to when students must have content mastery in a given area. Hold this road map close so that you won’t get lost along the way.
  • Assess your students to see where they are by creating a standards based assessment and grading rubric where questions are strategically grouped to quickly determine strengths and weaknesses by TEKS/ELPS, etc. Explain this new testing strategy to students and also go over the rubric with them. The more people that know where we are going, the quicker we will get there and the less likely we are to get lost.
  • Strategize carefully both individually and then with your content team to determine how you can best further growth and student understanding by creating an instructional plan that will help students master the concept.

Now, once you have done this, your instructional car’s G.A.S. gauge is on full. So, it’s time to drive our instruction to reach our destination.

Here is a three-tiered focus plan with daily, weekly and monthly task areas.

To Start: Use grade level TEKS to create an assessment Give assessment Questions on the assessment would point to a particular skill, strategy or TEKS standard. This way we can determine where strengths & weaknesses of each student lie. Once this is done, teacher can look at class wide trends and teach on these areas Then expand the instructional practices on these areas to be as creative and interactive as possible.

Daily: Use Do Now Assignments and Exit Tickets to get immediate feedback on the daily lessons. Use this information to tailor or tweak instruction for the next meeting. If there is 80% mastery, move on. If not, refocus and reteach.

Weekly: Use results from the initial assessment to create an individualized plan for each student. Students can go to folders during free time/set aside a class period for independent work time where students can work on their own growth plan.

Monthly: Create a unit assessment to measure growth in the newly presented material.

Repeat each step every month and you will always have enough gas in your tank to reach your destination: Content Mastery Blvd. and High Student Achievement Avenue!

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