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student assessment data

05 Feb 6 Ways Student Assessment Data Helps Teachers

By Anna Murphy, Rubicon International

This blog is a two-part series. Read the other part: 6 Ways Student Assessment Data Helps School Leaders.

We hear it all the time: ‘data-informed decisions’. In the classroom, student assessment data helps to support teachers in measuring instructional efficacy, impact of teaching strategies, and room for growth. While numbers and figures are not everything, analyzing student data does indeed act as a check-in for teachers, recognizing what worked and what didn’t, initiating curricular and instructional shifts, and supporting student achievement.

Making Meaning of Student Assessment Data

We are enthusiastic about the ways in which student assessment results support teachers in their practice, so much so that we have come out with a new platform that connects student assessment data to school curriculum. In this blog, using images form our newest product, LinkLogic, we are going to highlight 6 ways that this data benefits teachers.

1.  Pinpoint Where to Focus Instruction

What is the assessment data in the graph?
  • Assessment: M-Step
  • Grade(s): 3rd
  • Measure: Proficiency
  • Y-Axis: Percent of Students
  • X-Axis: Mathematics Concept & Procedures and Problem Solving
student assessment data
What are the findings?

Concepts & Procedures has the highest percent of students most at risk of falling behind but also the highest percent making adequate progress. And in Problem Solving, a smaller share of students are at risk of falling behind, but for a larger share, attention may be indicated.

What does this show teachers?

By clearly seeing the proficiency ranges in each section, the 3rd grade math teacher can develop more targeted and deliberate units designed to support students in making adequate progress in these math sections. Perhaps a project-based unit would best support student achievement by helping student not only comprehend concepts and procedures but also practice them in an applied manner and model the results. Whatever approach a teacher might take to supporting student progress in these sections, the data provides reasoning for its need.

Read our blog Upgrade Your Curriculum Cycle with Assessment Data to learn how teachers drive their curium review with data.

2.  Identify Areas for Differentiation

What is the assessment data in the graph?
  • Assessment: MAP
  • Grade(s): 5th
  • Measure: Performance
  • Y-Axis: RIT Score Reading Literature
  • X-Axis: Grade
student assessment data
What are the findings?

Analyzing student data in this chart, we see that 5th grade Reading Literature scores are above expected performance throughout the year. However, there are outliers who are significantly underperforming both in regards to their fellow classmates and the nationally representative norm.

What does this show teachers?

This chart highlights the need for differentiation for low performing students in 5th grade ELA. To mitigate this trend, teachers can initiate an RtI or personalized learning approach. Or, in using data to guide instruction, teachers can even set up check-ins with these students and possibly parents to establish goals and strategies for improvement.

3.  Compare Multiple Assessments

What is the assessment data in the graph?

Chart 1

  • Assessment: PARCC
  • Grade(s): 3rd, 4th, and 5th
  • Measure: Proficiency
  • Y-Axis: Percent of students
  • X-Axis: 3rd, 4th, and 5th Grade ELA 

Chart 2

  • Assessment: MAP
  • Grade(s): 3rd, 4th, and 5th
  • Measure: Performance
  • Y-Axis: RIT Score
  • X-Axis: 3rd, 4th, and 5th Grade ELA
student assessment data
student assessment data
What are the findings?

Many students take multiple assessments in one year, and it can be helpful to consider multiple assessment results in conjunction with one another. Chart 1 shows that proficiency – according to PARCC – is  improving overall from year to year. Specifically, the number of students who did not meet expectations decreased from 3rd to 4th grade, while the number of students exceeding expectations also rose between 3rd and 5th grade. Chart 2 confirms improvement over time, but also shows that there are a few outliers.

Student performance on reading in the MAP assessment is improving year to year; and at the fifth-grade level students are performing above the grade level minimum. Yet, in the PARCC ELA section, scores have mostly stagnated between 4th and 5th grade, and across 3rd, 4th, and 5th, about 20 percent of students are not meeting grade level expectations. This shows that while MAP is beneficial for gauging student progress throughout the year, it is not a predictor for performance on PARCC.

What does this show teachers?

Through the comparison of these charts, teachers in these grades become aware that while curricular shifts can support NWEA results throughout the year, shifting too much to support NWEA can be at the expense of results for assessments like PARCC. Knowing this, teachers are more empowered in using student assessment to improve teaching and learning

Make student data a key aspect of your work to support and improve student achievement.

4.  Evaluate the Efficacy of an Initiative

What is the assessment data in the graph?
  • Assessment: MAP
  • Grade(s): 7th
  • Measure: Growth
  • Y-Axis: Growth Percentile
  • X-Axis: Scale Score
student assessment data
What are the findings?

Analyzing student data in this case, we see that lower performing students have a high growth percentile, which is a positive sign. However, while the highest performing students have a high growth percentile, the students preceding them in performance are experiencing low growth.

What does this show teachers?

Let’s say the 7th grade teacher created some sort of initiative to support high and low performers. In looking at this chart, the teacher can see that while it did support those two groups, it failed to spur growth among the more average performing students. While the teacher can certainly continue with this initiative, they must also make tweaks to ensure all students benefit.

5.  Track Subgroups

What is the assessment data in the graph?
  • Assessment: PARCC
  • Grade(s): 4th
  • Measure: Proficiency
  • Y-Axis: Proficiency Level Distribution and Average Number of Units Standards are Targeted or Assessed
  • X-Axis: ELA Reading Informational Text
student assessment data
What are the findings?

Extending the information in the graph above, this chart aggregates the data for English Language Learners in 4th grade. Comparatively, ELL’s are behind their classroom peers in Reading Informational Text.

What does this show teachers?

After looking at the proficiency level distribution of ELL students compared to the general population, the teacher can return to these units, using data to guide instruction, and make room in the curriculum to plan for the different subgroups.

6.  Learn from Your Work

What is the assessment data in the graph?
  • Assessment: PARCC
  • Grade(s): 4th
  • Measure: Proficiency
  • Y-Axis: Proficiency Level Distribution and Average Number of Units Standards are Targeted or Assessed
  • X-Axis: ELA Reading Informational Text and Writing Expression
student assessment data
What are the findings?

The graph compares student proficiency level distribution in ELA Reading Informational Text and Writing Expression for 4th grade PARCC assessment results to the number of times the relevant standards were taught and assessed in curriculum. In looking at this, we see that students performed better in Reading Informational Text, though the like standards were reviewed the least in curriculum. And this is opposite to Writing Expression in which students’ proficiency was lower despite frequent encounters with the standards.

What does this show teachers?

By looking at this chart, the 4th grade teacher can revisit their curriculum and identify strategies used in the units focusing on Reading Informational Text and transform these to better support Writing Expression.

Learn about professional development webinars and events designed to support and empower teachers.

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