Each year, I try to do a little more with students and data. I started with students keeping portfolios and writing a one sentence reflection on all their graded assignments. It sounds tedious, but it takes 10 minutes a week once the kids are trained. Then, I added graphing test scores and using district benchmark tests for goal setting. Last year, I mandated students to keep track of their goals and the work they’ve done to achieve those goals and tried to be a little more purposeful about data talks.
This year, I’m doing my best to start strong with individual data talks. While students work in literacy centers, I’ve been pulling kids back one by one. I administer the San Diego Quick Reading Assessment. I share their AIMS scores and San Diego reading level. The conversation pretty much goes as follows:
“Here is your AIMS score: ___. This means . . . Now, let’s look at your reading level. The last grade you finished was 7th, so you should be able to read at a 7th grade level independently and an 8th grade level with a teacher. Your scores are a little below/ right on/ a little above. This means, when we go to the library on Thursday, I’m going to help you pick out a book at your independent level. Have you ever read ___? That’s an example of a book that would be a great fit for you.” I follow up with some encouragement if kids are low or some motivation if they are high because it doesn’t matter where we start. We need to grow!
This does take several days to get through all my students, but I’ve got to tell you, it makes a difference. Students have a right to know their levels, and when they realize that their growth is so important that the teacher is willing to spend one-on-one time discussing their abilities and offering support and encouragement, the students really respond. Some of the students might get a little upset if they are very far below, but they quickly come back with a little TLC and a few encouraging remarks.
What do you do with data talks? Any ideas?