Data Dilemma: A Lean Approach to Responding to Student Data

Teaching is an art, and one of the most difficult parts of honing the craft is differentiating to meet all students’ needs.

While this task is undeniably challenging, establishing a lean system for feedback allows teachers to easily identify misconceptions and intervene as early as possible.

After you’ve given an exit ticket and identified where your students got stuck, it is time to decide how to best differentiate to make sure every student receives targeted instruction. While this can be a daunting task, there are some quick and easy ways to give your students exactly what they need.

Check out a few of these effective practices below, all of which can be easily implemented in your class tomorrow!

Whole Class Reteach

If less than 60-80% of your class mastered the objective, consider doing a reteach the following day to help the majority of your students who require more support. However, this doesn’t mean repeating the same lesson. Rather, identify common misconceptions and hone in on those elements of the lesson. Leverage pictorial models, manipulatives, and/or graphic organizers to provide students with a variety of learning opportunities.

Differentiated Partner Work

The largest challenge comes when half the students understood the concept and the other half struggled. In this situation, consider doing a partner activity and strategically pairing students who mastered the lesson, with those who did not. This not only helps the students who struggled, but also challenges the students who mastered the concept by asking them to explain the concept to their classmate. You can also try a variety of other cooperative learning strategies that get kids up and moving, interacting, and helping each other.

Small Group Intervention

If you notice a small group of students in need of help, plan a small group intervention. You can provide the other students with partnered or independent work, freeing you up to work with the targeted group of students.

Strategic Check-Ins

If you carry around a class roster, or use an electronic system like Bullseye, mark the students who didn’t master the day’s objective. While doing a whole class instruction, move around the room and quickly check-in with those students as other students are working. Even a few seconds of one-on-one time can clarify misconceptions and give students an opportunity to privately ask questions.

Successfully leveraging student data is an iterative process. It is important to stop and reflect on the different strategies you are using, identify what seems to be working best and what new approaches you’d like to try next.

How do you respond to data in your classroom? We would love to hear what strategies and structures have been successful with your students!


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