Teachers from previous decades may have focused on “What did I teach?,” but the new focus is “What did the students learn?” Whether classroom resources are digital or not, educators can collect data every day to inform their instruction. In the presentation “Authentic Learning Starts with Informed Instruction,” Michael Haggen, chief academic officer at Scholastic Education, and Suzanne Lucas, vice president of product marketing for Scholastic Education Digital Solutions, discussed how teachers can use formal and informal data to guide ELA lessons and make sure all students are receiving the education they need.
Although the majority of teachers now use some form of data-driven learning, Haggen and Lucas reminded attendees that both formal and informal data are essential to informing instruction. Reading assessments and other measures can provide a picture of where a student is at the moment and how they have progressed over time, but there are daily opportunities for teachers to collect important information. 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.