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How data-informed instruction impacts every lesson

Both formal and informal data are essential to informing instruction--here's how to use data to its fullest

For example, unit projects, observation checklists, graphic organizers, and portfolios all provide insights into students’ progress and needs. Haggen said he liked to use writing portfolios with comments on each assignment. Both Haggen and the student could see how their writing improved over time as well as areas where the student still struggled.

A place for data-informed instruction

And while the ultimate goal is to improve individual student achievement, Haggen sees a place for data-informed instruction for every level of classroom lessons.

  • Whole class: Here, educators should be looking at class proficiency in discrete skills, like understanding homophones or using transition phrases. Then, teachers can develop microlessons to target concepts where the majority of class needs further instruction.
  • Small group: Teachers typically form these groups based on guided reading level. However, teachers could also look at shared interests and other informal data to develop the groupings. This allows the teacher to then provide students with lessons tailored to their skills and activities, which can make students more invested.
  • Independent learning: This is the setting most teachers think of when they think of data-informed instruction. Students get personalized lessons targeted to their learning needs. It’s important, though, that students are not just left on their own for independent learning. The teacher needs to communicate to the student exactly which skill(s) the student will be working on and how progress or proficiency will be determined. This helps the student take charge of their own education.

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