How we use data to create actionable plans for students

These days as teachers, we have tons of student performance data. Depending on what grade and subject you teach, you might have reading diagnostics, interim assessment data, exit tickets, or summative assessments. Here at KIPP Rise Academy, and all of KIPP New Jersey, we use our weekly content team meetings to look at this data and create strategic re-teaching plans for students. I’m sharing our process with you so you can use the data you have for your students in a strategic way too.

First, what are Content Team Meetings?

Content team meetings in our middle and high schools are meetings between teachers across grade levels who all teach the same subject. We’ll also include special education teachers who specialize in the same content so they can effectively plan to support their students.

We use content team meetings almost exclusively to look at our interim assessments and understand how students are performing against the assessed standards. Students are placed in performance bands, and we set goals around moving kids from one performance band to another.

What these meetings look like

At KIPP Rise Academy, we teach students in grades 4 to 8, so teachers in our math content meeting teach standards that span that range of grade levels. To maximize our time together, we use a data analysis tool called Illuminate and a data protocol to analyze student assessment results.

We also spend time taking the assessments before we teach the material they cover, so we know how we’re going to measure students against those standards and can prioritize teaching them at the right level of rigor. We also use time in content meetings to norm across a grade level on how we’ll grade a particular assessment, so we’re clear on what it means to master a standard.

All of this happens on a cycle so some teachers will be taking an interim they’re about to teach, some will norm on grading or use the time to grade interims as a small group, and others will look at where students fall in performance bands and decide how best to move students from their current band to a higher one. These meetings are highly differentiated so that teachers make the most of their time.

How do teachers use this in class?

After a meeting, teachers might be in one of a few places. Either they are still teaching the skills in an interim and are reminded of the level of rigor students need to reach, or they came out of the meeting with a strategic reteach plan.

They would use strategic reteach blocks in their schedule to pull kids who haven’t mastered a standard. They can use this time to target the specific skills groups of students missed across classes, making this a powerful tool to move students across performance bands.

How you can do this. This week.

Here’s a good way to do this, even if you don’t have the software and interim assessments we have.

  1. Find some data you have on your students. It should be aligned with standards (Common Core if your school or district use them).
  2. Group students into performance bands. These should be based on mastery of the standards you have assessed. Here’s a quick guide on performance bands.
  3. Use our data protocol to plan out how to move students from their current band to a higher one.
  4. Dedicate time in class to work with these students. You can re-teach the standard if most of the class didn’t get it, or find time to pull small groups.

And that’s it. Data-driven instruction is a crucial tool in the teacher’s toolbox. How do you use data to drive instruction in your class? Let us know in the comments below!

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Tyler Dockins

Math Department Chair at KIPP New Jersey
Tyler Dockins is an eighth-grade teacher and math content leader at KIPP Rise Academy.

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